A fledgling golf channel launched amid much fanfare by Sky Sports has hit the rough just days into its short life after the US PGA Championship opted not to renew a decade-long media partnership with the broadcaster.
The snub comes as the golfing body instead seeks to forge relationships with unnamed ‘new platforms’ which while likely to involve live broadcasts certainly won’t be delivered by Sky. The PGA will instead seek to engage a different breed of consumer, potentially via terrestrial television.
The withdrawal undermines Sky’s claim to be the home of television golf in the UK having made great play of its extensive live coverage of both the PGA and European tours, becoming the broadcaster of record for the sports four biggest tournaments.
Explaining the decision to walk away from Sky PGA of America’s chief commercial officer, Jeff Price, said: “We had a good partnership with Sky but the 2017 US PGA Championship will not be on Sky. 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.”
Instead the honours are likely to fall to social media with the PGA possibly developing a highlights package to attain the ‘broadest distribution’ possible.
Sky has dominated the sport thus far by waving its cheque book around but this has also led to a slump in the number of TV viewers with fans voting with their remotes not to pay hefty subscription fees.