Not April Fools: USGA Announces New TV Deal With FOX Sports On Eve Of PGA Championship

Let's forget for the moment that Fox Sports has NEVER televised golf other than some local team play golf shows.

Let's forget that the USGA is a non-profit organization with a "For The Good Of The Game" slogan currently airing their early round telecasts on ESPN with weekday and weekend coverage from NBC, and a major partnership with Golf Channel.

Let's forget that the USGA does not need any more money than it currently brings in.

No, let's just focus on the unprecedently tacky decision by the USGA (not Fox) to announce a major shake-up in how the USGA does business on the eve of the PGA Championship.

For Immediate Release...


Tee up? Golf puns? Really?

12-Year Multi-Media Agreement Brings Major Championship Golf to FOX Sports Platforms for First Time Ever, Beginning in 2015

Expands Coverage for U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open & U.S. Senior Open Championships

Elevates USGA’s Amateur Championships with Significant Coverage

Far Hills, N.J., and New York (August 7, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA), the governing body of the game of golf in the United States, and FOX Sports, the No.1 network for sports television since 1997,

Excuse me, did I miss a memo? Did ESPN establish itself in 1998?

today announced a comprehensive multi-media agreement that makes the FOX network and FOX Sports 1 the principal domestic media partner of the USGA and the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open Championships, as well as the USGA’s national amateur championships and other live content, beginning in 2015. The landmark, 12-year agreement, which runs through 2026, brings premier major championship golf for the first time ever to the FOX broadcast network, home to the country’s greatest sports events, including the Super Bowl, World Series, Daytona 500 and World Cup.

The agreement was announced today, in an utterly low class, ungentlemanly fashion on the eve of the PGA Championship which happens to be run by the organization that did not support us on the anchoring ban. Coincidence?

by USGA President Glen D. Nager and USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and FOX Sports Co-Presidents and COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks.

“This is an exciting and remarkable day for the USGA, as our partnership with the FOX Sports is a game-changer for our organization and for the game of golf,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager.

Game-changer. Define please.

“The game is evolving and requires bold and unique approaches on many levels, and FOX shares our vision to seek fresh thinking and innovative ideas to deliver championship golf.

Translation: NBC and ESPN were not up to snuff.

This partnership will help us to better lead and serve the game in new and exciting ways.”

And based on Fox's extensive work in golf...oh forget it.

Under terms of the newly executed agreement, the USGA and FOX Sports will deliver a total of 146 hours of championship golf, including a minimum of 70 cumulative hours of live event coverage of the three Opens, making the game compelling, dramatic and fun for an expanded audience. In addition to the rights to the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open Championships, FOX Sports will also be home to the USGA’s national amateur championships and international team competitions, delivering a minimum of 76 hours of live broadcast coverage across its sports platforms, including FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network, launching August 17.

A twelve-year commitment in part to a network that hasn't even launched yet. Wish I thought of that.

“It’s with tremendous excitement and pride that we’ve added events with the prestige and magnitude of the USGA’s U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open to the big events FOX Sports is set to cover for years to come,” said FOX Sports Co-President and COO, Randy Freer.

“We’re looking forward to FOX Sports becoming home to the preeminent golf championship in the world,” added fellow FOX Sports Co-President and COO Eric Shanks.  “We’re committed to elevating coverage of USGA events on every level, infusing them with a new energy and innovation that will make every championship the best golf event on television.”

This new partnership with FOX Sports also includes strategic elements to help the USGA strengthen its support of the game, including:

Integrating FOX Sport’s wide array of multi-platform assets, including its soon to launch mobile app FOX Sports GO, and innovative production capabilities to establish the U.S. Open Championship as the world’s best golf telecast;

Elevating the visibility of the USGA’s amateur championships and delivering unique storytelling to celebrate the amateur game;

Transforming U.S. Open Week into a powerful showcase and entertaining celebration of the game of golf;

Developing unique initiatives to enhance the USGA Member experience and help grow the Association’s membership community; and

Providing significant promotional support to showcase and advance the USGA’s core services to the game, including the Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, Equipment Standards, Handicapping, the USGA Green Section and the USGA Museum.

“We are thrilled with the commitment that FOX Sports has made to the USGA, our national championships, the strategic growth of our organization and to the game,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “This partnership represents a promising new future for both organizations that will be marked by broadcast innovation, new approaches and fresh thinking. We could not be more energized by what we will be able to accomplish together to make golf better, both now and for future generations of players and fans who love the game.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Translation: we took a huge amount of money because are about the good of the almighty dollar.

Most astounding of all, the USGA has just entered an era in which it has streamlined and refined how it announces initiatives. Credit who you like for this improved messaging--Mike Davis, Glen Nager, Joe Goode--it doesn't matter. They did a nice job rolling out the anchoring ban announcement and other "news." And now this?

So forgetting the idea of committing to a network for 12-years that has never televised golf, how does that same non-profit organization pull this stunt on the eve of the PGA Championship.

A dark day for the United States Golf Association and for the game.