Virus reschedule issues fuels switch of $1bln USGA deal

New York (AFP) – A US Golf Association deal for American media rights worth a reported $1 billion has been transfered from Fox Sports to NBCUniversal effective immediately, USGA officials said Monday.

Fox Sports had issues finding enough broadcast hours for the US Open, rescheduled from June to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, given its deals for NFL, Major League Baseball and US college football, according to a USGA statement.

“Recent events calling for the shift of the US Open created scheduling challenges that were difficult to overcome,” Fox Sports chief executive officer Eric Shanks said.

When Fox began talks to explore how NBC and the Golf Channel could work together for this coronavirus-hit year, a broader conversation began that led to NBC taking over the remaining time through 2026 on a 12-year deal that began in 2015.

That will lead NBC to telecast four USGA events this year, including the US Amateur and US Women’s Amateur in August, the 120th US Open at Winged Foot in suburban New York on September 17-20 and the 75th US Women’s Open on December 10-13 in Houston, Texas.

“Adding these prestigious USGA events to our already incredibly deep golf business, led by our long-term PGA Tour partnership, as well as The Open Championship and the Ryder Cup, positions us as absolute leaders in the golf space,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group.

Terms will be the same as under the prior agreement, the USGA said.

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