The PGA Tour and ESPN have reached an agreement for direct-to-consumer platform ESPN+ to stream live, featured-hole coverage from 12 Tour events this season.
The agreement began with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, over the weekend. It carries through the FedExCup Playoffs and the Tour Championship, which is scheduled for September 6-7 in Atlanta.
For the remainder of the 2019-20 PGA Tour Season, ESPN+ will stream coverage of two featured holes on Saturday and Sunday of each event, concurrent with the full telecast on CBS or NBC. The featured holes will be selected each day by the PGA Tour.
The agreement comes ahead of a nine-year domestic rights agreement, in which PGA Tour Live, the Tour’s subscription OTT service, will be exclusively available on ESPN+ from 2022 onwards.
It was announced earlier this week that a number of competitors at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge would wear microphones in order to improve the broadcast experience of the first event back on the PGA Tour in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Rickie Fowler was the only player to sign up for the fan-engagement initiative during the first round. Canadian professional Adam Hadwin said he volunteered to wear a microphone, but it appears his request went unanswered.
“Audio is such an important part of any sport’s broadcast,” CBS Sports lead anchor Jim Nantz said. “Without fans on the course, we’re hoping to hear more of the exchanges between players and caddies. We invited every player in the tournament to wear a mic if they wished during tournament play. We had Rickie Fowler take us up on that on Thursday. We were grateful. That’s the only one so far who has volunteered.”
The PGA Tour Champions Boeing Classic, which was scheduled to be held in August outside of Seattle, has been canceled because of the coronavirus crisis.