NBC Sports Group, comprising NBC and Golf Channel, will be the new American home to the Open Championship starting in 2017. The R&A, which presents the game’s oldest major championship, made the announcement of the 12-year deal on Monday.
“[NBC Sports Group has] unparalleled experience in golf and have demonstrated a genuine desire to showcase and promote The Open and the R&A’s elite championships through their extensive range of channels and digital platforms,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson in a release. “The United States is home to millions of fans of The Open and we know that through NBC Sports Group they will enjoy world-class coverage of the championship.”
Sports Business Journal reports the deal is worth over $600 million, with NBC paying the R&A over $50 million per year over the life of the deal. That’s double the current haul the R&A makes on its deal with current broadcast partner ESPN.
ESPN has been airing all four rounds of the Open Championship since 2010 as part of a deal that concludes next year at Royal Troon. The deal signifies the end of the R&A’s long standing relationship with ESPN and its sister network, ABC. Prior to the most recent deal to bring the entire Open to cable, ABC had aired some portion of the Open since 1962.
This deal marks the first time Golf Channel will air a men’s major championship. However, it will not be an all-cable affair, as NBC will air weekend rounds of the tournament.
In addition to having the rights to air the Open Championship, NBC Sports Group will air the Women’s British Open, the Senior Open Championship, the (British) Amateur Championship and the Walker and Curtis Cups in years hosted by the R&A and Ladies Golf Union.