The War for Sports: Fox Grabs TV Rights to U.S. Open Golf From NBC and ESPN

Fox Sports 1 Gains Ammunition, ESPN Gives Some Up

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21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch's film and TV company, has signed a 12-year agreement to televise the U.S. Open golf tournaments, grabbing a marquee event from NBC and ESPN and boosting the company's own fledgling all-sports network.

News Corp. is changing Speed into Fox Sports 1
News Corp. is changing Speed into Fox Sports 1

The Fox broadcast network and the new cable channel Fox Sports 1 will carry the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open championships from 2015 to 2026, 21st Century Fox said in a statement with the United States Golf Association. The deal includes broadcast, cable and multimedia rights.

The agreement marks Fox's first foray into professional golf. With the U.S. Open, which traditionally airs in June, the company gains sports programming that can help highlight new shows ahead of the start of the prime-time TV season in September. Fox is taking over rights previously split between Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and Comcast Corp.'s NBC.

"We're committed to elevating coverage of USGA events on every level, infusing them with a new energy and innovation that will make every championship the best golf event on television," Eric Shanks, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Fox Sports, said in the statement.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Under the deal, Fox Sports will also televise the USGA's national amateur championships and international team competitions, according to the statement.

"We've enjoyed our 19-year relationship with the USGA, and will continue to serve the golf fan every day," NBC Sports said in a statement. NBC and Comcast's Golf Channel "will continue to be the dominant voice in golf coverage going forward," it said.

ESPN has had a "rewarding relationship with the USGA," Disney's sports channel said. "We look forward to televising the U.S. Open and other USGA championships in 2014 and wish them the best in the future."

~ Bloomberg News ~

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