Sky loses US PGA Championship as organisers target 'multi-platform distribution'
Sky, the UK pay-television operator, will not be providing live coverage of all four golf majors this year after losing the rights to the US PGA Championship.
Sky is the dominant broadcaster of golf in the UK and has been the long-time home of the fourth and final major of the season.
However, the PGA of America, which organises the event, confirmed on Thursday that its deal with Sky has not been renewed as it looks at options involving “all platforms.”
It is thought that there will be a focus on online live coverage, with the possibility of a television highlights package, in the UK.
The 2017 US PGA Championship takes place at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina on 10 to 13 August.
Sky held the rights to the tournament in a 10-year deal, which expired after last year’s event won by US golfer Jimmy Walker.
Having won the live rights to the British Open traditionally shown by public-service broadcaster the BBC, 2016 was the first year that Sky could boast live coverage of all the majors, on top of the European Tour and PGA Tour.
Explaining the change of direction, Jeff Price, chief commercial officer of the PGA of America, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper: “We had a good partnership with Sky but the 2017 US PGA Championship will not be on Sky. It was a multi-year deal that was up. Ultimately one of the key things for us is scale of distribution and obviously with all the new platforms that consumers are engaging with, we want to make sure we reach all of them.”
He added: “Broad distribution, multi-platform distribution is the key objective for us. I’m not in a position yet to share all the details but we want the ability to engage golf fans of all ages across all platforms. We want the broadest distribution we can possibly have and are very excited about the plan we have in place.”
Earlier this week, Sky confirmed the rebranding of its sports channels, including one dedicated to golf, which will be in operation in time for this year’s British Open, to be held at Royal Birkdale in north-west England, on 20 to 23 July.