Beginning in 2015, the U.S. Open has a new home: FOX Sports.
The U.S. Golf Association and FOX Sports announced a new 12-year agreement for FOX to become the governing body’s network broadcasting partner beginning in 2015.
“This is an exciting and remarkable day for the USGA, as our partnership with FOX Sports is a game-changer for our organization and the game of golf,” said USGA president Glen Nager in a statement. “The game is evolving and requires bold and unique approaches on many levels, and FOX shares our vision to seek fresh thinking and innovative ideas to deliver championship golf.”
The U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open will be broadcast on FOX and FOX Sports 1, the company’s new all-sports cable network launching Aug. 17, after the USGA’s current broadcasting agreement with NBC and ESPN at the end of 2014.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, the Associated Press reports FOX bid in the area of $100 million per year for the rights — approximately twice the annual fee under the prior contract.
In total, the USGA and FOX Sports will air 146 hours of championship golf, including 70 hours of live golf coverage of the U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open. The USGA’s amateur and team championships are also covered under the deal, airing across multiple FOX platforms.
NBC Sports Group and ESPN have been the broadcast partners for the USGA championships in recent years. NBC has aired USGA events, including the three U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateur, since 1995, while Golf Channel’s current deal to air other USGA championships has been in place since 2009.
“The combination of NBC and Golf Channel will continue to be the dominant voice in golf coverage going forward,” said an NBC Sports spokesman in a statement. “We’ve enjoyed our 19-year relationship with the USGA, and will continue to serve the golf fan every day.”
NBC Sports golf anchor Dan Hicks responded to the news on Twitter saying, “Will always love the U.S. Open. It becomes a part of you after so many yrs. Our national championship. What a privilege it has been.”
ESPN, which has aired USGA championships since 1982, airs weekday coverage of the three Opens under their current agreement.
A spokesman released a statement saying, “We’ve had a rewarding relationship with the USGA. We look forward to televising the U.S. Open and other USGA championship events in 2014 and wish them the best in the future.”
The timing of the announcement is unfortunate, considering it comes on the eve of the PGA Championship. Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, which conducts the tournament being played this week at Oak Hill C.C. near Rochester, N.Y., offered a diplomatic reaction to the late Wednesday announcement.
“On the eve of the PGA Championship,” he said in an email, “we would hope that everyone’s attention in the golf world would be focused on the season’s final major.”