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Exclusive: ESPN, NBC Finalizing Ryder Cup Rights Trade

Multiple sources confirm ESPN is finalizing a trade with NBC to hand over day one rights for the 2014 Ryder Cup in exchange for improved rights access to Premier League highlights for shows such as Sportscenter.

Spokesman for ESPN, NBC and the PGA of America--which supervises U.S. television rights for the biennial matches--all declined to comment.

The two networks previously worked as trade partners in 2006, when ESPN picked up rights to the Friday Ryder Cup coverage, Olympics highlights and cartoon character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" in exchange for broadcaster Al Michaels.

Though neither side would make executives available to discuss ongoing negotiations, the deal makes sense for NBC's recently-announced expansion of Ryder Cup coverage through 2030, while ESPN will no longer neglect the Premier League on its popular highlight shows. ESPN's coverage of the 2010 Ryder Cup was not well received after relentless commercial breaks included 18 showings of the same Lee Corso college football ad.

The 2014 Ryder Cup is the final year of ESPN's current arrangment with the PGA of America. The Disney-owned network still has rights to R&A events through 2017 along with the opening two days of the Masters and the final year of its USGA event coverage in 2014.

Sources believe NBC has not determined whether the Friday coverage will be placed on NBC, Golf Channel or NBC Sports Network, or some combination of the three Comcast-owned networks. NBC has broadcast the Ryder Cup since 1991.

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Reader Comments (11)

When it's played in US might be on NBC but when in Europe prob. GC given time difference. NBC wouldn't want to come on live at 3 in the morning. the same day tape days are in the past, I hope.

ESPN is down to the Masters 2 rounds and all of the Open Champ. after 2014. Not much work for Andy North and Dottie pepper.
12.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
A free-of-charge brand promotion for Nike courtesy of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Seriously, does ANYone care which network carries a golf tournament? Anyone? They are all the same and they generally stink.
12.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Won't be surprised if Fox Sports does a deal to get some PGA Tour events.
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Parker
Speaking of RC looks like Sergio might finally win a tourney this week...he's got a very attractive female caddying for him. Is that his new girlfriend?
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
If this means no Berman at the Ryder Cup - do it, do it - please !
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Berman never did appear on a Ryder Cup on ESPN, Mike Tirico, Strange, North etc. did.

Back to this week (nowhere else to post!!) I'd say ole Serge really hit the jackpot this time, NBC said that is his girlfriend caddying she seemed very smiley...And on the father-son thing, guess they just can't bring themselves to mention anything unpleasant. Vijay appears--no mention of lawsuit..Elkington--no word on his ugly tweets.
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
Raining hard so I turned on the TV machine just for the heck of it and there was the Shark talking about 25 years of the Shootout. Fell asleep and awakened to the Father-Son thing just in time to see Big Jack hit a 120-yard wedge shot about 106 yards, short and right into a bunker. That is golf I can relate to! Elk later said Jack Burke is the matriarch of golf at Champions. Or someplace. Lanny Wadkins still has an attitude. Gary Nicklaus is an amateur. Again, again, and again. Televised golf is great!
12.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
@KLG: Seeing bad golf from legends is soothing to me. Reminds me that it's a F'd up game no matter how one played in the past week, month, year, decade, etc. Yet time and again we keep coming back for more self-inflicted mental flogging...and pay good money for the privilege...good times!

Did Elk mix up "mate" w/ "Matriarch" any case it reminds me of Ricky in Trailer Park Boys trying to talk all important-like.
12.15.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Kudos to Geoff for offering the old Ryder Cup logo. The new one is very sterile and I miss this old one (plus, it's the Euro version)
12.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBillV

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