BBC ends Open coverage

After more than 60 years, the BBC will no longer carry live coverage of the Open, after the R&A agreed to release the broadcaster from its commitment to screen the 2016 championship.

Zach Johnson's 2015 Open win at St Andrews is the last to be screened by the BBC.
Zach Johnson's 2015 Open win at St Andrews is the last to be screened by the BBC.

Sky Sports had been scheduled to carry the event from 2017, but has agreed to the R&A’s proposal to start its live coverage from next year after the BBC sought to withdraw.

The BBC will continue to show prime time highlights from 2016 and will continue its radio coverage along with enhanced digital offerings.

The R&A is now in the process of sourcing a new production partner to produce the world feed in the BBC’s absence.

“We are looking forward to world-class coverage of The Open from our partners at Sky Sports and are grateful that they have stepped in a year early,” said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A.

“It is sad to see the BBC’s live coverage of The Open end and I know some fans will be disappointed. The relationship between The R&A and the BBC spans more than 60 years and we understand the challenging circumstances that the BBC is currently presented with,” he continued. “I know the BBC will produce compelling highlights, which will be enjoyed by a large prime-time audience.

“We are committed to delivering a spectacular edition of The Open next year at Royal Troon and working with both Sky Sports and the BBC we will ensure compelling coverage for millions of fans throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.”