The PGA Coming To ESPN & ESPN+
Disney have announced that the PGA is coming to ESPN and ESPN+, beginning in 2020, as part of a new, 11-year deal that extends through the 2030 event. Traditionally golf’s final major held in August, The PGA will move to May beginning in 2019 (the year before this new agreement starts). It will now be the second major of the season, following the Masters, which ESPN also televises. ESPN last aired the PGA in 1990.
The wide-ranging agreement includes more than 165 hours of live action on ESPN and ESPN+ across all four days of the tournament, as well as pre-tournament and other ancillary content. This deal, combined with the PGA of America’s new long-term agreement with CBS, will result in unprecedented coverage for this global event.
Beginning with the May 2020 event held at Harding Park in San Francisco, exclusive live coverage of the first and second rounds will appear across ESPN and ESPN+ the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. For the third and final rounds, ESPN and ESPN+ will have multiple hours of live coverage throughout the morning, leading into the CBS telecast later in the day, while ESPN+ continues with featured groups and featured hole coverage during the weekend afternoon windows.
“This agreement is going to be great for golf fans and is significant for ESPN and ESPN+,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “The PGA will bolster ESPN’s diverse collection of big events and deliver another world-class competition to the ESPN+ platform and its growing audience. We look forward to working with the PGA of America to help increase the sport’s popularity.”
ESPN was the PGA’s original cable television home and aired the first two rounds of the event in 1982 and 1983 and then from 1985-1990.
“For nearly a half-century, CBS Sports has been a vital member of the PGA of America extended family while delivering our major championship to golf fans across the country,” said PGA Chief Executive Officer Seth Waugh. “We are also thrilled to partner with ESPN and connect with sports fans through the reach of the ESPN networks. The PGA is a major synonymous with historic moments that resonate with golf fans everywhere. As we move this iconic championship to May, we are extremely excited that CBS and ESPN will present the highest quality product with the state-of-the-art technology through a broadcast team that shares our mission to grow the sport of golf.”
In addition to the live play on ESPN and ESPN+, coverage will include a wide-range of unique, extended content:
- Featured groups and Featured hole coverage on ESPN+ throughout all four days of the tournament (morning and afternoon).
- Practice round coverage – ESPN+ will air coverage during the practice rounds Monday-Wednesday leading up to the start of competition. Will include scenes from the course as well as interviews, features and analysis.
- Press conferences – Select player press conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday of event week will air on ESPN+.
- Driving range – All week long on ESPN+, fans can watch a live feed from the driving range as players get ready to head to the course.
- SportsCenter at the PGA – ESPN’s signature news and information program SportsCenter will have a strong presence at the PGA for the entire week of the event.
- Highlights – An extensive collection of in-progress and post-round highlights will be available on ESPN+, ESPN.com, the ESPN App and other ESPN platforms.
- PGA Team of 20 – This original series of vignettes about the 20 PGA Golf Professionals who qualify for the PGA will air in non-golf programming across ESPN networks and platforms.
- PGA Coaching Center – PGA Coaching Center, produced by PGA.com, will come to fans on ESPN+ during practice rounds and during warmups on competition days, focusing on game improvement methodology/technology with PGA member instructors at the driving range and putting green.
More details of ESPN’s PGA coverage will be announced in the future.
The new deal with the PGA of America also will include coverage of the PGA Junior League Championship, an event in which eight teams composed of 13-year-old players compete over a three-day period each October at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Az. At least two hours of play per day will be televised.
ESPN’s golf schedule also includes the first and second rounds of the Masters Tournament, all four rounds of the Latin America Amateur and the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, and the final round of the LPGA’s season-ending championship, the CME Group Tour Championship (on ABC).