LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. -One of professional golf's four major tournaments has a new broadcast home, as the United States Golf Association has announced that NBC will be taking over the broadcast contract for the U.S. Open, effective immediately.
A crowded sports schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted FOX to choose the National Football League and MLB over the U.S. Open, leading the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) to end its 12-year deal with the broadcaster and transfer it to NBC Universal.
The early rounds of the U.S. Open will be carried by Golf Channel and Peacock, NBC's on-demand streaming service that is set to launch next month.
"Recent events calling for the shift of the U.S. Open created scheduling challenges that were hard to overcome", said Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of Fox Sports. That led to deeper conversations about the contract and how it could be resolved. It also will have the FedEx Cup playoffs every other year when the new media rights deal with the PGA Tour begins. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although the USGA said the rights fee it is paid would stay the same for the duration of the contract through 2026.
Insider Insight: If the reports are true then this is a huge deal for NBC as the firm looks to bring the US Open back to its programming.
The U.S. Open returns to Oakmont Country Club in 2025.
The agreement granted Fox major championship golf for the first time ever, but, according to the Associated Press, the rights will revert back to NBC starting with the 2020 U.S. Open, which will now take place from September 17-20 at Winged Foot in NY after being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That ended when the USGA, in a move that surprised the industry, announced in 2013 it was moving to Fox Sports.
Fox broadcast its first U.S. Open from Chambers Bay south of Seattle, with Greg Norman as the lead analyst. All no longer are with the USA.
NBC's previous six-year deal with the USGA ran from 2009 to 2014.
Fox replaced NBC and cable sports broadcaster ESPN as the USGA's principal domestic rights-holder.
The addition of the USGA championships means that NBC and its properties now own the broadcast rights to the U.S. Open, Open Championship, Players Championship and Ryder Cup, as well as long-term partnerships with the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, PGA Tour Champions, Korn Ferry Tour and NCAA.
The deal also includes the rights to other USGA flagship events including the U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur tournaments. It will air eight events per year - CBS has 19 - and airs early round and early weekend coverage on its Golf Channel platform.