Fox Sports To Air Franklin Templeton Shootout, Net's First Event With Buck-Norman
Fox Sports and the Franklin Templeton Shootout have reached a multiyear, multiplatform rights agreement that brings the event to Fox and FS1. The move makes the December exhibition the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event televised by the net. It also will be where Joe Buck and Greg Norman make their broadcasting debut together. FS1 will televise the Thursday and Friday rounds, while Fox will broadcast the final round on Saturday. The shift to Fox results from a schedule change for the event (Fox). In Florida, David Moulton writes the move to Fox at first "may not seem like a plus for the average viewer because they've never watched golf" on the net. However, the "upside is that to Fox, this tournament now becomes a big deal." The tourney shifting from Friday-Sunday to Thursday-Saturday looks like it was made "to accommodate Joe Buck's NFL broadcast schedule." However, it could "make the most sense" as the only "significant sports competition on television that Saturday" is CBS' Army-Navy football game (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 5/1).
ARMS RACE: GOLF DIGEST's Ron Sirak wrote getting the Shootout is “an important step for Fox as it begins to develop its golf coverage.” The net’s “issue as it attempts to gain a foothold in the sport is that there simply aren't going to be that many available golf properties for a while.” The PGA Tour is signed with NBC, CBS and Golf Channel through ‘21, while CBS has the PGA Championship through ‘19 and ESPN has the British Open through '17. The LPGA signed a 10-year deal with Golf Channel in ‘09. But Fox already is showing a "willingness to innovate, moving the finish of the shootout from Sunday to Saturday.” Still in question is whether the event “will be the debut tournament for Fox Sports or whether it will try to stage another event sooner." Fox Sports President & COO Eric Shanks said, "They will get as much time in rehearsal as we can not ... broadcast before and after the shootout. Will [we] have all the bells and whistles ready by December? No. But we will be ready next June” (GOLFDIGEST.com, 4/30). Fox Sports Coordinating Producer Mark Loomis said that “most of his team will be together for the first time in June at the U.S. Open, providing nightly recaps” on FS1, but “no schedule has been set.” Rehearsals will begin "sometime after the Open” (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/30).