BBC warned to up golf coverage or risk losing Open
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club has issued a blunt warning to the BBC to devote more hours to the coverage of golf, or risk having its rights to broadcast the set piece open revoked.
The threat was delivered by Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Club, following a trend in which coverage has steadily eroded – from 24 days of live action seven years ago to just six today.
Dawson said: “We have had that conversation with the BBC. They know we have got our eye on them. It hasn’t just been in golf but with the likes of tennis as well. 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.”
Dawson’s decision to go public with his displeasure is seen as a shot across the bows of BBC management as negotiations begin ahead of the next five year licence commencing in 2016 with negotiations expected to include ESPN and Sky.
The move comes as the Club lifts its six year ban on the use of mobile phones at events , allowing spectators to utilise official smartphone apps – although calls will only be allowed in designated areas and recording is not permissible during events.