ESPN has inked an eight-year, $200 million dollar deal to broadcast the Open Championship.
Under the agreement, ESPN will pay $25 million annually to broadcast 34 hours of the live coverage over four days, including six hours of highlights that will appear on broadcast brethren ABC.
The deal begins in 2010. Turner Sports will broadcast this year’s Open Championship from Turnberry.
In addition to television rights, ESPN also has the rights for web and digital media, including broadband, mobile and video-on-demand, plus expanded television and digital media rights for ESPN International.
Not to rub it into the faces of my fanatical Red Wings loving friends, but I find it interesting that ESPN would pony up $200 million for a golf tournament, while hockey is relegated to some obscure channel called “Versus.” Versus pays the NHL $75 million annually for 54 games—perhaps 150 hours of programming. ESPN pays the Open Championship $25 million for 34 hours of broadcasting.
Of course, poker probably gets higher ratings than either, based on the number of hours it’s on television. Is there a poker channel somewhere on cable?