After the Presidents Cup, and the appearances of Tiger Woods in Australia, we were all hoping that golf’s free-to-air TV coverage would continue to thrive in Australia, but it’s not the case.
Channel Ten has announced it will no longer be broadcasting the Australian Open. Martin Blake at The Age
has the full exclusive story this morning. It’s a massive blow for free-to-air golf coverage and potentially for the tournament itself.
One industry source told The Age yesterday the Open’s naming-rights sponsorship deal with Emirates was contingent on free-to-air TV coverage, meaning the organisers needed to find a network in a hurry.
But the problem is broader. Of the four big Australian tournaments this summer, only one – the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum in mid-December – has a locked-in broadcast partner. Channel Ten has a contract to cover that tournament for two more years.
As it stands, the only golf tournament that is broadcast live on Australian free-to-air TV is the US Masters with not even the European Tour sanctioned Perth International or the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath with a broadcaster yet.
Watching most of the European Tour and PGA Tour golf on FoxSports, it becomes pretty obvious how much better it is compared to the sorts of shenanigans
that free-to-air broadcasters are used to pulling on golf fans.
As much as it hurts Australian golf to have no free-to-air coverage, it obviously doesn’t rate well enough to b a viable option for commercial TV and if you want it done properly, then pay-Tv have shown they do it best anyway.