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Sky New Zealand regains golf rights

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand has acquired rights to golf’s European Tour and Asian Tour after the content was relinquished by online television service Lightbox Sport.

The five-year deal will run across the 2016 to 2020 seasons of the European Tour and Asian Tour. Sky’s coverage commences today (Wednesday) with the European Tour’s Qatar Masters event.

The Singapore Open will be the first event of the 2016 Asian Tour to be shown on Sky Sport, beginning tomorrow (Thursday).

Lightbox secured rights to the tours in late 2014 when it teamed up with digital sports broadcaster Coliseum Sports Media to form a 50:50 joint venture called Lightbox Sport.

Having secured the rights to all PGA Tour events in a deal struck in October 2014, CSM in December 2014 added the European Tour, Ryder Cup, USPGA Championship, Asian Tour and LPGA Tour to its portfolio.

CSM said last month that it was prepared to sublicense some of its golf rights to television broadcasters in an effort to give the sport additional exposure in the country.

The NBR.co.nz website said Lightbox Sport relinquished the rights to the two tours due to “extremely limited interest”. In a note to subscribers earlier this month, the streaming service announced the 2016 European Tour would no longer be available to view on its World Golf Pass.

“We have ceded the rights to broadcast these events and instead have chosen to focus our attention to the PGA Tour and accompanying tours – the LPGA, US PGA championship and the 2016 Ryder Cup,” the statement read.

Sky had broadcast the European Tour and Asian Tour before CSM’s deal in 2014.

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