Sky Sports will continue to screen live coverage of PGA Tour golf tournaments until at least the end of 2021 after securing a new seven-year TV deal.
The agreement means only on Sky Sports can viewers enjoy the world’s best golfers including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson competing live on the PGA Tour throughout the summer months.
The rights, which begin in 2015, extend Sky’s partnership with the PGA Tour into its 30th year and strengthens the broadcaster’s grip on televised golf in the UK, following reports of strong competition for the PGA rights from rivals BT Sport.
As well as the PGA Tour, Sky Sports offers viewers three of golf’s four Majors – The Masters, US Open and US PGA – The Ryder Cup, all four World Golf Championship events, 32 events from the PGA European tour, LPGA Tour events, including the US Women’s Open, and amateur tour events.
The new seven-year agreement starting in 2015 comprises of 32 PGA Tour tournaments exclusively live, including the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, The Players Championship from Sawgrass and the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Bay Hill.
All four season-ending events from the FedEx Cup Playoffs – The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship in August and the BMW Championship, and Tour Championship by Coca-Cola in September – will also be shown live by Sky Sports.
Sky Sports will also cover the next four biennial Presidents Cup matches between the USA and an international team representing the rest of the world, minus Europe, from 2015 to 2021.
From the 2014 FedExCup Playoffs, Sky Sports will also significantly increase the amount of US-based PGA Tour events it covers with an on-site presentation team each year, from five currently to thirty-one.
More on-site broadcasts with presenters based in the US will enable Sky Sports’ coverage to get closer to the action, offering viewers further analysis of European players during tournaments as well as showcase new talent and on-screen innovation.
“Sky Sports is the home of golf, with more of the best coverage of the best players competing in the best events than anywhere else,” said Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports.
“This new agreement with the PGA Tour is huge for us, enabling us to guarantee our viewers long term US golf coverage for the next decade.”
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: “Sky is the preeminent sports network in the United Kingdom and has been a valued broadcast partner of the PGA Tour.
“The Tour and Sky strongly believe in the value of our existing relationship and are excited about the future, a future that includes compelling new content that is tailor-made for tournament telecasts in the U.K.”
Sky Sports first covered live PGA Tour golf in 1991 and held the rights up to 2007 when the ill-fated Setanta Sports briefly took over the rights for three years, before the PGA returned the rights to Sky in 2010 after the Irish broadcaster went into liquidation.
Since Sky Sports brought US golf to UK audiences in the early 1990s, the number of European players competing regularly on the TOUR has increased from 6 to 29.
Major winners Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose are just some of the European contingent that compete full-time on the PGA Tour, all of whom have won their Majors on American soil, while last year Henrik Stenson became the first European to win the FedExCup.
Sky Sports shows golf every week of the year and will schedule coverage from more than 100 tournaments in 2014.
The line-up includes exclusively live coverage of The 2014 Ryder Cup, the tenth to be shown on Sky Sports in succession, plus the Masters, US Open, and US PGA Championship. Sky Sports also shows live coverage of 35 events from the PGA European Tour including The Race For Dubai.
From this year, the PGA Tour’s innovative Hub technology will provide additional digital content during Tour events to Sky Sports viewers.
Live tournament coverage includes featured holes and groups with European players, plus a highlights packages will be made available on the new ‘PGA TOUR Match Centre’ within the Sky Sports iPad app, skysports.com, Sky Sports News and via the red button.
The PGA Tour agreement is the latest in a series of long-term rights announcements made by Sky Sports, strengthening its unrivalled portfolio of live sport across six channels.
Sky recently secured six separate major live sports rights agreements for British & Irish Lions, Super League, WWE, Scottish Football, Cricket New Zealand and speedway.