SBJ/20090126/This Week's News

USGA to reap $55M from U.K. rights deal

The U.S. Golf Association will bring in $55 million over six years under a new U.K. rights deal with British Sky Broadcasting for coverage of its annual championships through 2014.

British Sky Broadcasting had aired coverage of USGA championships on a year-by-year basis for approximately 15 years, but this is its first multiyear contract. The previous financial terms could not be determined, but a source familiar with the deal characterized the new deal as bringing a “substantial” annual increase for the exact same inventory, which includes online streaming rights in the U.K.

Television coverage consists of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as the U.S. Amateur events. It also includes U.S.-based Walker Cups and Curtis Cups, biennial men’s and women’s team competitions pitting U.S. amateurs against those from the U.K. and Ireland.

Based on financial statements and USGA projections, the USGA’s domestic and international television fees accounted for about $40 million in revenue in 2008. The new U.K. deal gets the USGA closer to covering its annual costs of operating the U.S. Open, estimated at $50 million in 2008.

“Getting the U.S. Open underpinned (with media rights) is one of the things that is very important to the USGA in the long term,” said IMG Vice Chairman Alastair Johnson, who consults golf properties on television rights, though he did not work on this deal. It was negotiated by the USGA.

British Sky Broadcasting owns U.K. rights for the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup through 2016. The Masters and the British Open air in the U.K. on the BBC.

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