Sky Sports will broadcast The Open Championship live from 2016 after the BBC approached tournament organisers The R&A and requested to be released from its contract a year early

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Sky Sports will broadcast The Open Championship live from 2016 after the BBC approached tournament organisers The R&A and requested to be released from its contract a year early.

The R&A subsequently accepted the public broadcaster’s proposal and allowed the BBC to amend its arrangements for coverage of next year’s event at Royal Troon.

Following discussions, The R&A approached Sky Sports, who agreed to take up the live broadcasting reins a year ahead of schedule.

The BBC will produce a highlights package, deliver live radio coverage and publicise the event via its digital channels, but The R&A – which will receive no additional revenue from the new arrangement – must now source a new partner to look after the world feed.

“We are looking forward to world-class coverage of The Open from our partners at Sky Sports and are grateful that they have stepped in a year early,” said Marin Slumbers, The R&A’s Chief Executive, who officially began his tenure at the start of this week following the retirement of Peter Dawson.

“It’s sad to see the BBC’s live coverage of The Open end and I know some fans will be disappointed. The relationship between The R&A and the BBC spans more than 60 years and we understand the challenging circumstances the BBC is currently presented with.

“I know the BBC will produce compelling highlights, which will be enjoyed by a large prime-time audience.

“We are committed to delivering a spectacular edition of The Open next year at Royal Troon and working with both Sky Sports and the BBC we will ensure compelling coverage for millions of fans throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.”

This news will no doubt revive the debate around the BBC’s dedication to the sport – something many, including Golf Monthly editor Michael Harris, believe sits in stark contrast to Sky Sports.

It is, however, unfortunate that popular broadcasters Peter Alliss and Ken Brown weren’t given a proper send of at St Andrews.