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Sky poised to land Open Championship rights – report

UK pay-television broadcaster Sky has agreed a deal with the R&A, which operates the Open championship, over the acquisition of rights for the British golf major, according to the Daily Mail.

Although the length of the deal was not disclosed, the newspaper said Sky will pay more than £10m (€12.6m/$15.6m) per year for the exclusive live rights to the championship with a contract set to be confirmed early this week.

The agreement is set to mean that public-service broadcaster the BBC’s 59-year ownership of the exclusive live rights will end after this year’s Open at St Andrews in July. The Mail said the BBC is likely to keep a highlights deal, but prioritised retaining its rights to the English Premier League football competition.

Last week the BBC retained rights for highlights of the Premier League after signing a new three-year deal covering the 2016-17 to 2018-19 seasons of the top division of English football.

The BBC will pay a total of £204m for the rights, or an average of £68m per season. The broadcaster is paying £60m per season in its current three-year deal, which runs until the end of the 2015-16 season.

The Open was recently removed from the list of events protected for free-to-air broadcast, which opened up the potential for deals with pay-television operators.