Jul 19th, 2016
Final round Open viewing figures drop 75%
Are the R&A killing the golden goose?
Words: James Greenwood Photography: Getty Images
It has been revealed that the peak TV audience for the final round of The Open dropped 75 per cent on last year's figure in the first year of broadcasting by Sky Sports.
The highest viewing figure on Sky for the Open was 1.1 million. BBC’s two-hour highlights show on Sunday evening reached a higher peak – 1.5m – than Sky’s live coverage.
In 2014, when Rory McIlroy won the Open at Hoylake, the BBC’s peak Sunday figure was 5.5m.
The R&A's decision to award the viewing rights to Sky caused a storm of anger at the time, with many concerned that taking the Open off terrestrial would have have a long term detrimental impact on bringing new people into the game.
These numbers will certainly aid the detractors, although it is hard to see a way back for the Open onto terrestrial as the BBC's commitment to sport, and specifically golf, is tepid to say the least.