The Niggle: Who’s to blame for The Open going to Sky?February, 2015
Who is responsible for The Open no longer being shown live on terrestrial television?
The decision to move live coverage of The Open from BBC to Sky from 2017 has caused outrage among golf fans.
Most people believe the decision is wrong and the lack of golf coverage on terrestrial television will have a negative impact on participation.
But where should people direct their complaints? The R&A or the BBC?
Did the BBC do enough to keep The Open? Are the R&A guilty of simply “selling out” to the highest bidder?
James Savage and Damien Wilde from National Club Golfer debate the issue?
JS – I think the buck stops with the R&A. As guardian’s of the game, their job is to promote golf, ensure it thrives and get as many people playing as possible.
DW – The problem is with the BBC, the R&A have the best interest of the game at heart no matter what the public perception of their financial activities with regard to this deal.
JS – It’s all well and good the R&A saying they will put the money back into grass roots level but a generation of golfers and golf fans could be lost if The Open is not available on terrestrial television.
DW – No one seems to be mentioning that by allowing a specialist sports broadcasting company to take the reigns, they will ensure that the way in which golf is broadcast is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!
Why should the BBC have a monopoly on an event which is almost an afterthought?"
JS – Whether or not BBC coverage is better or worse than Sky is not the issue. Golf on the BBC will get more viewers and that should be the R&A’s priority.
DW – Why should the BBC have a monopoly on an event which is almost an afterthought? Coverage is key, Sky show almost every PGA and European Tour event, and did a stellar job with the Ryder Cup. I say give them a crack and at least this might offer the proverbial kick up the backside that the BBC need to help promote and support the sport on the whole.
JS – Sky have got The Open for five years from 2017 so I don’t think it will do anything to help the BBC help promote the sport. The job that the BBC has done in promoting the sport in recent years is a separate issue. Surely the R&A could have allowed The Open to remain on the BBC and had some input on the coverage? The Open on the BBC is one of the best ways to turn the casual golf fan into a serious golfer or golf spectator. Who is going to subscribe to Sky Sports just for The Open? It’s a winner for Sky subscribers like myself who are getting something extra but there will be millions who will miss out and that’s something the R&A will be accountable for.
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