Sky seizes share of the Masters from BBC - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Sky seizes share of the Masters from BBC

THE BBC’S ever-dwindling golf coverage was dealt a severe blow yesterday when it was announced that from next year it will be BSkyB, and not the terrestrial channel, who will screen live broadcast from all four rounds of the Masters.

The corporation has been the host channel of the Augusta showpiece for the last 24 events, but now will only have live footage from the weekend action. The Independent first reported back in March that the BBC were resigned to losing out to Sky and at least some of their fears were confirmed when the satellite company won the rights to show the action from the Wednesday through Sunday.



Sky will also be permitted an extra hour of live coverage on the Thursday and Friday - Augusta has famously always limited the airtime - as well as the par-three contest on the eve of the event.



The BBC's contract expired after this year's Masters and talks took place during and after that tournament. Sky outbid the BBC in 2007, the last time the deal was up for negotiation, and inevitably did so once again this time around as the corporation prepares for a freezing of the licence fee.



The discussions were understood to be tense, with Sky understood to be close to walking away from the table at one point unless they could secure at least two days of exclusive broadcasts. But Augusta - who were seeking the cake-and-eat-it scenario with the extra Sky finance while keeping the wider BBC audience - eventually found their compromise.



The mood in Murdoch Towers yesterday was understandably one of joy after finally securing the season's curtain-raising Major they have chased for so long. "Sky Sports is now the only place to see all four days of the Masters, live," said their managing director, Barney Francis. "Sky Sports has enjoyed a great partnership with golf for nearly two decades. We follow a hundred different tournaments each year, from five different continents, and are excited that the Masters is now at the heart of this calendar."



Indeed, Sky do enjoy something of a stranglehold on golf coverage, with next month's Ryder Cup and the three majors played in the States - the USPGA, the US Open and now the Masters - all on their books. Furthermore they host the bulk of the European Tour and, since the collapse of Setanta, the US Tour as well. The BBC still retain the rights to show The Open, and this looks safe as it is part of the Government's "crown jewels" - the sports events that must be shown on terrestrial TV.



They first screened the Masters in 1967 and have shown every event since 1986 when they wrested the coverage back off Channel 4. With viewing figures over four million the loss of coverage is a not only a setback for the BBC but also for golf fans without access to the paid-for channels. The BBC's fairway fare is now paltry to say the least.



Five years ago they showed 30 days of live golf coverage every 12 months. This year it had dropped to 16 and now in 2011 it will be down to 14, under half where it was in 2005. And, perversely, British golf has rarely been stronger.



In truth, the BBC were for a long time resigned to losing the Masters and the relief fairly rang through the director of sport's statement yesterday. "We are delighted that this new deal enables us to continue this relationship," said Barbara Slater. "It means terrestrial audiences can continue to enjoy live coverage of the concluding rounds of this hugely prestigious tournament on BBC TV, alongside our comprehensive coverage on radio and online."



Ryder Cup countdown: 9 days to go

Nine points was Europe's largest winning margin in the cup, recorded in Michigan in 2004 and again in County Kildare two years later.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones