SBJ/March 31-April 6, 2014/Media

Golf Channel gets Ryder Cup Friday coverage for first time as ESPN deal comes to an end

NBC’s 2006 trade of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to ESPN officially has run its course, as NBC Sports Group picked up the rights to Friday coverage of the Ryder Cup.

As part of the Oswald trade, ESPN carried the Ryder Cup’s Friday matches from 2006 to 2012. But this September, NBC-owned Golf Channel will step in and carry the Ryder Cup’s Friday coverage, marking the first time that network will carry the tournament.

NBC in October signed a deal with the PGA of America to keep the Ryder Cup rights through 2030, a deal that officially starts in 2015. But ESPN ceded the rights to the Friday coverage back to NBC early in exchange for a package of rights that includes EPL and Olympics highlight rights, sources said. NBC also allowed ESPN to negotiate a talent contract with Michelle Beadle, who still was under contract to NBC.

All told, NBC is planning to produce 26.5 hours of live golf across NBC and Golf Channel from the Ryder Cup, which will be played in Scotland this September. Previously, NBC tape-delayed the event’s Saturday matches when they were held in Europe.

Golf Channel plans to re-air some of the early morning coverage, though it has not scheduled a time slot for it yet. The event also will be streamed to authenticated subscribers via NBC Sports Live Extra.

As for Oswald, the cartoon character lives on at Disney through a variety of video games and merchandise.

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