A day after Turner said it was bailing out on the British Open (linked here), ESPN and The R&A, the organizer of what’s called officially The Open Championship, announced they’d dive in together on an eight-year deal to do all four rounds live on the cable channel starting in 2010.
Jean Van de Velde immediately began new plans of figuring out a way to get out of the moat he still finds himself stuck in.
ABC will still have an extensive same-day weekend highlights package for the third- and final rounds for those who haven’t figured out how cable works yet.
ESPN will televise 34 live hours live over four days and produce six hours of encore highlights for ABC, which continues the network’s relationship with the event past the 50-year mark.
“It is all important to The R&A that we preserve the traditions of The Open Championship while at the same time ensuring that golf fans are able to enjoy modern state-of-the-art coverage of the event,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. “We know just how much ESPN respects The Open’s heritage and we are very excited by their many innovative plans to cover the Championship across the whole media spectrum, both in the United States and internationally. We look forward to a long and productive relationship.”
Alastair Johnston, IMG Vice Chairman, who led the negotiating team representing The R&A said: “We had to consider not only the financial terms but The R&A’s overall mission to promote and develop the game of golf to an evolving global audience.”
The deal also includes exclusive U.S. coverage of all rounds of the Senior Open Championship and coverage of the next two Walker Cups when contested in the United Kingdom (2011 and 2015).