Report: BBC Repeatedly Turned Down Chance To Show PGA Tour Highlights For Free
More details have emerged of the demise of golf on the BBC, with the Telegraph reporting that the corporation was offered the chance to show PGA Tour highlights for free, but turned them down on multiple occasions.
The offers from the PGA Tour, which included highlights from this week’s Players Championship, have reportedly been rejected on more than one occasion by the BBC, which seems to be distancing itself from the game of golf.
The Telegraph’s golf correspondent James Corrigan quotes an inside source as saying that the BBC rejected free PGA Tour highlights as golf is not a sport that suits the corporation’s new target demographic – with leaders searching for a younger audience.
Having also reportedly shelved plans to show nightly highlights from The Masters at Augusta next month, rejecting the chance to show golf without having to pay a fee for the rights looks like the latest signal that the BBC is turning its back on the sport
“The PGA Tour was willing to give away the highlights to the BBC for a potential programme that could have gone out every Monday night, or even just when it chose, such as for The Players, which is the Tour’s flagship event,” a source was quoted as saying in the Telegraph report.
“It would not have had to pay any rights fees. This offer was made on multiple occasions, including in recent years. But the answer came back that it was not interested because it ‘does not suit the demographic’ the BBC is trying to reach.
“That is a stunning attitude, even if you simply look at this week and see that Rory McIlroy has a chance to go back to world No 1 and so many other UK players are teeing it up. The BBC would rather get down with the kids and instead put out stuff like the UFC.”
There is some hope that the BBC could still strike a deal with Augusta National to continue to show Masters highlights, and they still have contracts to show highlights from the Ryder Cup, The Open and Women’s Open.
The Telegraph’s source, though, says that golf is far from a priority with the BBC’s director of sport Barbara Slater, which could even cast doubt on all the coverage they still do have.
“Barbara Slater clearly has a huge downer on golf and probably believes the old stereotype of dusty old clubhouses, despite the promising growth in the women’s and junior games,” the source added. “It is now plainly a BBC TV policy.”
Rory McIlroy was among those who felt that it’s not too big of a deal if the BBC stop showing golf, but having the last few remaining pieces of golf fall away from terrestrial TV must be a worry given the huge audiences the sport is missing out on.