BBC risks losing Open, says R&A chief

Dawson wades in to broadcasting row


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Warning: Dawson
Stalwart: BBC star Peter Alliss

The BBC will concede broadcasting rights for the Open Championship if it continues to scale back live golf coverage, according to R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

From next year, the BBC will only screen six days of live mens golf. It has a contract to show the Open live until 2016 but, speaking at this year's venue of Royal Lytham & St Annes, Dawson made it clear there’s no guarantee the agreement will extend.

“The BBC know we have got our eye on them,” he said. “You have to stay in practice and keep up with advances in technology. You need to be in practice to do it well.

“We obviously want the Open Championship to be seen by as many people as we can.

“The BBC knows it needs to get off the financial plateau they are on with the Open Championship by the next time it comes around. Who knows who will be on the scene then?

Dawson volunteered ESPN – who holds a US broadcast deal with the R&A – as potential rivals to the BBC, while Sky will almost certainly put a bid in. Contractual talks are due to get underway between the R&A and the BBC about 18 months before the present deal ends.

For now, the Open is placed on a B section of listed events earmarked for free-to-air coverage. Others alongside them, such as the Ryder Cup and domestic Test cricket matches, only have highlights coverage on terrestrial television.

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Wonder if Mr Vaughan will be annoying more golfers at this year's Open?

Posted: 24/04/2012 at 14:46

It is sad truth that the BBC is no longer at the front broadcasting  major sports events, it's just become too expensive and their budget will only extend so far. I can see a far bigger outcry if they were to lose Wimbledon.

It's funny when Sky first started showing golf they had to hire BBC camera crews and equipment, I reckon if the Beeb keep the Open the situation will be reversed.

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 10:16

I understand what he's saying but find the phrase, “The BBC know we have got our eye on them" very pompous.

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 14:15

The BBC are too busy spending money on things like The Voice and Strictly Come Dancing to keep televising sport. Their attitude to sport these days is pretty galling, its as if they just dont care anymore. I wouldnt mind if there was an option to ditch the channels and not pay the licence fee but we arent afforded that choice!

Posted: 26/04/2012 at 12:48


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