On Sunday night, long after Dustin Johnson’s final putt dropped to secure the win at the Travelers Championship, Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press dropped a bombshell that will once again change the landscape of televised golf.
The U.S. Open is headed back to NBC.
Despite signing a monster 12-year, $1 billion deal with the USGA back in 2014, Fox Sports has seemingly gotten out of the golf business and pulled the plug on the remainder of their deal to air USGA events. As a result, NBC has agreed to pick up the remaining seven years left on a deal and at a considerable discount. More from Ferguson’s report:
One person said NBC would pay for just under half of the rights fee through the rest of the contract.
Two other people said the deal began to take shape this month, especially with the U.S. Open being moved to September during the opening month of the NFL.
One person said Fox was contemplating moving the U.S. Open to FS1, an idea that was rebuffed by Mike Davis, the CEO of the USGA. That led to deeper conversations about the contract and how it could be resolved.
As noted in the report, had Fox not pulled the plug on the deal, they were going to have quite the dilemma on their hands come September. With the rescheduling of the U.S. Open to mid-September, that would fall right in the middle of football season (assuming we have a football season in 2020).
With NBC now holding the rights to the U.S. Open again, the network once again becomes the defacto home of golf. In addition to the U.S. Open, NBC and Golf Channel also have the rights to the Open Championship, The Players Championship, three World Golf Championships, the Ryder Cup, and the Presidents Cup. Additionally, when the new PGA Tour deal goes into effect, it will also have the FedEx Cup playoffs every other year.
Now that we know where we can watch the U.S. Open for the foreseeable future, there is only one question that remains to be answered. Will the return of the U.S. Open to NBC also mean the return of this guy?