For the first time in network history, Fox will air a major golf tournament.
The network and the USGA agreed on a 12-year deal that awards rights to the U.S. Open to Fox from 2015-2026. The network takes over for NBC, which had aired the late rounds of the Open since 1995. Fox and Fox Sports 1 gain rights to the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open -- two other events that NBC used to own rights to -- as part of the deal.
"This is an exciting and remarkable day for the USGA, as our partnership with Fox Sports is a game-changer for our organization and for the game of golf," said USGA President Glen Nager. "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. This partnership will help us to better lead and serve the game in new and exciting ways."
"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 executive Randy Freer.
"We're looking forward to Fox Sports becoming home to the preeminent golf championship in the world," added fellow FOX Sports exec 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."
U.S. Open rights were the only prominent golf rights available long-term. CBS, NBC, ESPN and the Golf Channel have most of the rest of the PGA season on lock through 2019. CBS and Augusta National consistently renew rights to The Masters on a year-to-year basis. For Fox, it gets them into the golf world for the first time, adds programming to Fox Sports 1, and gives them summer programming at a time when they're demoting most of their summer sports schedule (i.e. MLB, which will drop from 26 Saturdays per season on Fox to 12 next year) to cable.