News sources are reporting that ABC is out of the negotiations for the new PGA Tour contract. The network apparently was unwilling to pay what the Tour is demanding.
That leaves CBS and NBC. Golfworld is reporting that NBC will double the number of tournaments that it shows in 2007, with two additional West Coast events and three of four of the events that comprise the end of the new Fedex Cup.
The article doesn’t say so, but I think that there’s also the possibility that a cable network will pick up some more events. A few years ago, it was unthinkable that ABC would surrender Monday Night Football, or that the NFL would move to a cable-only channel. But there we are.
I know that there are those who can’t stand the USA Network coverage, but I have enjoyed them. Its a good chance to see play that I otherwise would miss. And their broadcasts are a lot better than OLN’s hockey coverage.
ABC still has 16 tournaments for this year, and the British Open through 2009. Its unlikely that they will keep a golf staff for that one event, so you can expect a new venue there, too.
Overall, I think its interesting that ABC is divesting itself of sporting events—once the crown jewel of network television. Of course, Monday Night Football has gone to its sibling, ESPN, but that’s not quite the same. And ABC has not yet given up on the NBA. But could that be next?