Sky finally closing in on Masters exclusivity in the UK at BBC's expense
Sky, the pay-television giant in the UK, is closing in on exclusivity to the US Masters, the opening major of the golf season, in what would represent the end of public-service broadcaster the BBC's 57 years of live coverage from Augusta National.
Sky has set its sights on exclusivity to The Masters since it first came on board as a rights-holder in 2011, but in both 2014 and 2017 the BBC renewed its contract for live coverage of the final two days, preceded by highlights of the play from Thursday and Friday.
Sky shows all four days live and, according to the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper, will do so exclusively from 2020, leaving the BBC with just late-evening highlights.
It would mean no live golf on the BBC for the first time since 1955, with Sky having established itself as the home of the sport in the UK.
In February, the pay-TV operator regained rights to the US PGA Championship, meaning that this year it will show all four men's majors in the UK for the first time since 2016. Its golf output also includes USA's PGA Tour, the European Tour and all five women's majors.
Last year’s US PGA Championship was shown in the UK and Ireland, on a free-to-view basis, by Eleven Sports, the international subscription broadcaster, via a live stream, as it launched in those markets for the first time.
This came after Sky and the BBC, which televised the 2017 edition, withdrew from contention, with the asking price reported to have been a factor.
Earlier this week, Sky renewed its exclusive rights to the British Open and US PGA Championship in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, adding to its existing deals for the US Open and The Masters.