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Sky lost the rights!
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Sky Sports has lost the rights to the US PGA Championship, which takes place at Quail Hollow next month, in what marks an embarrassment to the broadcaster just days after it announced the launch of a dedicated golf channel.

The PGA of America, which runs the tournament, confirmed that Sky’s deal – which had run for a decade – has not been renewed because a completely different media model is being pursued. While the details of that are unknown, there could still be an element of live broadcast, via another outlet.

Sky has pitched itself as the home of television golf in the UK, owing to its live coverage of the PGA and European Tours. Last year, Sky became the live broadcaster of all four majors.

“We had a good partnership with Sky but the 2017 US PGA Championship will not be on Sky,” said the PGA of America’s chief commercial officer, Jeff Price. “It was a multi-year deal that was up. Ultimately one of the key things for us is scale of distribution and obviously with all the new platforms that consumers are engaging with, we want to make sure we reach all of them.”

Price’s comments intriguingly suggest a move away from the traditional television rights scene, a matter that will be of fascination to golf insiders. Social media will inevitably play a key part, with the possibility of a television highlights package also in the works.

“Broad distribution, multi-platform distribution is the key objective for us,” he said. “I’m not in a position yet to share all the details but we want the ability to engage golf fans of all ages across all platforms.

“We want the broadest distribution we can possibly have and are very excited about the plan we have in place.”

Next week Sky will be the prime broadcaster of the Open for the second time. That switch from terrestrial television, which at the time meant Sky showed every major live in the UK, led to ferocious criticism of golf’s ruling body as the sport battles to attract fresh interest. Open viewing figures last year at Royal Troon were understandably far lower than when the competition was live on the BBC.

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