Shackelford: Is ESPN Working its Way Out of Golf?
Noted golf enthusiast and Golf Digest blogger Geoff Shackelford mentioned an interesting tidbit today, wondering if ESPN is looking to leave the golf broadcast game.
As Shackelford writes, Awful Announcing sparked the rumor that a "trade" may be in the works between ESPN and NBC "involving Friday Ryder Cup and European Premier League highlights." That basically means NBC could acquire day one coverage of the biannual Ryder Cup matches from ESPN in exchange for improved rights to run Premier League highlights on Sportcenter.
Trust me, I didn't know ESPN didn't have those rights, either.
Shackelford then goes the extra mile to wonder if ESPN is trying to get out of golf coverage altogether, save for its exclusive agreement with Augusta National to cover The Masters. They are also signed with the R&A to cover the Open Championship until 2017.
If Shackleford's assumption is correct, it would mean a massive shift in television coverage and a risky move by ESPN, who could make a few enemies with heavy-hitters in the pro golf circuit (especially those green-jacketed folks in Georgia).