By Barry Janoff
August 7, 2013: In the latest salvo fired by major networks for supremacy of the sports landscape, Fox Sports has signed a 12-year deal with the U.S. Golf Assn. that will bring "premier major championship golf" to the Fox broadcast network for the first time.
The agreement, which begins in 2015 and runs through 2026, was unveiled Wednesday by USGA president Glen Nager, USGA executive director Mike Davis and Fox Sports Media Group co-presidents and COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Industry analysts put the deal at $100 million per year.
According to Shanks, “We’re committed to elevating coverage of USGA events on every level, infusing them with a new energy and innovation that will make every championship the best golf event on television.”
The new alliance means that NBC and ESPN will, after 2014, lose broadcast rights to events under the auspices of USGA, which is the governing body of golf in the U.S. That includes the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open Championships, as well as the USGA’s national amateur championships, select international matches and other live events.
USGA major marketing partners include American Express, Chevron, IBM, Lexus and Rolex.
The USGA agreement comes about ten days prior to the launch of Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17. Fox Sports said it plans to have 146 hours of USGA coverage.
“We’re committed to elevating coverage of USGA events on every level, infusing them with a new energy and innovation that will make every championship the best golf event on television." — Eric Shank, Fox Sports
The PGA Tour has TV deals with NBC, CBS and Golf Channel that currently run through 2021.
Fox Sports last year signed a new broadcast deal with Nascar, which was extended and enhanced this week.
Fox Sports, a division of 21st Century Fox, also has alliances that include MLB, UFC, several college conferences and the NFL. Fox will broadcast Super Bowl XLVIII this February from MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets.
“This is an exciting and remarkable day for the USGA, as our partnership with FOX Sports is a game-changer for our organization and for the game of golf,” said Nager. “The game is evolving and requires bold and unique approaches on many levels, and Fox shares our vision to seek fresh thinking and innovative ideas to deliver championship golf.
According to Davis, “This partnership represents a promising new future for both organizations that will be marked by broadcast innovation, new approaches and fresh thinking. We could not be more energized by what we will be able to accomplish together to make golf better, both now and for future generations of players and fans who love the game.”
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