UK sports broadcasting newcomers Eleven Sports have added to its growing line-up by securing live and exclusive rights to broadcast the PGA Championship, the final major championship on the 2018 men’s golf calendar.
The centenary edition of the major championship, which runs from 9-12 August at the Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri, will act as the launch event for Eleven Sports’ UK channels.
Live coverage of all four rounds to be shown free of charge through a 7-day trial on Eleven Sports’ online platform via www.elevensports.uk, and on iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps.
The first two rounds will also be streamed for free on Facebook live through the Eleven Sports UK page.
The Eleven Sports online platform and the mobile and tablet apps will be launched ahead of the event starting in early August, when details of how to subscribe and pricing plans for its sports coverage beyond the PGA Championship will also be announced.
During the first two days of the tournament, Eleven Sports will show live coverage of two selected groups on www.elevensports.uk, on the mobile and tablet apps, and on Facebook from approximately 4pm until 7pm.
Then, from approximately 7pm, full uninterrupted coverage will run through to the close of play on the same platforms, meaning at least eight and a half hours of continuous live golf on each day.
The final two rounds will be shown on www.elevensports.uk and on the mobile and tablet apps, with full uninterrupted coverage running from approximately 5pm through to the close of play on each day.
Times may change depending on amendments to the championship schedule and the tee times of the selected groups.
Comprehensive highlights will also be available on demand via the Eleven Sports website and on the mobile and tablet apps on all four days of the tournament.
Holyer is one of golf’s most respected broadcasters, having worked for Sky Sports, Setanta and IMG, presenting golf as well as providing commentary from all over the world on the European Tour and USPGA events.
Whiteley, who has previously hosted golf events for Sky Sports and The Golf Channel is also the host of IMG’s golf magazine TV show Golfing World, broadcasting around the world to over 35 international broadcasters.
Online personality, amateur golfer and host of ‘Seb on Golf’ on YouTube, Seb Carmichael-Brown, will also be part of the team to provide a knowledgeable but entertaining and youthful edge to Eleven’s production of the tournament.
The Eleven Sports team will be on the ground at the course to capture all the action inside and outside the ropes, interviewing players and gauging the reaction from fans at the Bellerive Country Club. More pundits, including professional golfers, will be announced soon.
The move to stream the live action on Facebook is part of Eleven Sports’ innovative way of delivering more contemporary sports coverage that appeals to existing audiences and extends access to new fans.
Commenting on securing PGA Championship rights, Danny Menken, Group Managing Director, ELEVEN SPORTS.
“Launching ELEVEN SPORTS in the UK and Ireland with such a prestigious event as the 100th PGA Championship, confirms our position as a major player in the market.
“We are looking forward to maximising this fantastic opportunity to appeal to existing golf fans through comprehensive free-to-air live coverage and analysis, while also growing new audiences with our fresh and innovative ways of delivering leading sports action.”
The 2017 edition of the PGA Championship was broadcast live on the BBC after previous long-term rights holders Sky Sports failed to secure a new deal for the tournament with the PGA of America. Both broadcasters reportedly declined to broadcast this year’s tournament.
PGA of America, Chief Commercial Officer, Jeff Price added:
“It is a tremendous way to celebrate the 100th PGA Championship by becoming the inaugural free-to-air program on Eleven Sports in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“We are excited that Eleven Sports will deliver major championship golf to diverse audiences through multiple, leading-edge digital platforms that are uniquely designed to connect to both the modern day and the next generation of fans.”
Alongside its coverage of the final men’s golf major of the year, Eleven Sports has also secured exclusive rights to show La Liga matches, taking over from Sky Sports, plus live rights to broadcast Serie A matches from BT Sport, as well as live Dutch, Chinese and Swedish football, with UFC and NBA basketball rumoured to be joining its line-up next year.
The PGA Championship is the fourth and final major of the year and comes on the back of a thrilling edition of The Open Championship at Carnoustie, where Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose were all in contention on the final day before Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win one of golf’s majors.