Unlikely Broadcasting Partnership for European Tour

Imagine Liverpool and Everton, two of the fiercest rivals in English soccer, agreeing to share a player during a Merseyside derby. One team has him for the first half before he changes shirts at the break and joins the other side.

If you can comprehend the absurdity of such a situation, you may be able to appreciate the significance the European Tour’s ability to get two broadcasting rivals to work together.

Not only have the European Tour given live broadcasting rights to Sky Sports and BBC Sport, but the two networks are also going to share coverage on four of the 40 tournaments to be shown every year from 2009 to 2012.

The two companies won the rights after a long tender process and will join forces for the BMW PGA Championship, The Barclays Scottish Open, The Quinn Direct British Masters and the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

During those events, BBC will show live footage with highlights on Sky for the first two days and then the roles would be reversed for the final two days.

One wonders what it means for continuity in terms of quality. Will the two networks share the same commentators or change the faces and voices after the halfway cut?

European Tour chief executive George O’Grady is confident the arrangement would work, as he said on the tour website:

“We are delighted that Sky Sports and BBC Sport will, through the new collaborative process at four of our leading tournaments, deliver even greater in-depth live coverage plus extensive highlights each evening. These agreements give the Tour and all our tournament partners immense confidence for the future.”

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