The European Tour’s two main broadcast partners in the UK – BBC Sport and Sky Sports – will both transmit live coverage of the Masters Tournament from Augusta National in 2011.
Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, today announced additions to the tournament’s television schedule and host broadcasters in the UK.
Beginning at the 2011 Masters, which take place from April 7-10, there will be an extra hour of live Tournament coverage on Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8.
Payne commented: “Since our first telecast of the Masters in 1956, we have carefully maintained a tradition of high-quality programming within an appropriate broadcast window,” said Payne. “Now, with the proper infrastructure and resources in place, we are confident the additional coverage will meet the high standards of the millions of golf fans who enjoy viewing the Masters each April.”
Payne announced that Sky Sports will join the BBC as a live broadcaster of the Masters. The BBC, which now maintains an uninterrupted relationship with the Masters since 1986, will deliver the tournament live on the weekend. Sky Sports will televise Wednesday’s Par 3 Contest and the four tournament rounds from Thursday to Sunday live.
Sky Sports also brings with it the ability to distribute the first live 3D Masters coverage to UK viewers with 3D-capable televisions.
“We consider ourselves fortunate to have two committed television partners who are able to reach both new and established audiences throughout the United Kingdom,” Payne said. “This agreement was successful in both preserving a long-term partnership and adding a new dimension to our coverage in the UK.”
Since 2009, BBC Sport and Sky Sports have shared live coverage of two leading events on The European Tour – the BMW PGA Championship and The Barclays Scottish Open – with Sky showing live coverage of the first two days and the BBC picking up live coverage at the weekend.
Following the announcement from the Augusta National that Sky Sports will have live coverage over all four days of the Masters, plus the Par-3 contest, from 2011, Sky Sports Managing Director, Barney Francis, said: “Sky Sports is now the only place to see all four days of the Masters, live.
“In the UK & Ireland, next year’s Masters will be the first shown live on Sky Sports, the first with the Par-3 contest scheduled live on TV and the first of golf’s Majors to be shown in 3D.
“3D coverage of the Masters will give a unique view of the Masters and really capture the contours of the stunning Augusta National course. We are also delighted that coverage from the host broadcasters at Augusta National will start one hour earlier than ever before.”
“Sky Sports has enjoyed a great partnership with golf for nearly two decades. We follow a hundred different tournaments each year, from five different continents, and are excited that the Masters is now at the heart of this calendar.”
Meanwhile, the BBC will continue to broadcast the Masters live on terrestrial TV. There will also be comprehensive coverage of the Augusta showpiece on Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website.
BBC TV will have live coverage of the final two rounds of the event, in which Phil Mickelson won his third Green Jacket earlier this year, finishing three shots clear of Lee Westwood.
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: "The BBC is very proud we have broadcast the Masters every year since 1986 and we are delighted that this new deal enables us to continue this relationship.
"It means terrestrial audiences can continue to enjoy live coverage of the concluding rounds of this hugely prestigious tournament on BBC TV, alongside our comprehensive coverage on radio and online.”
The Masters has been broadcast by CBS every year since 1956 and early round coverage has been televised by ESPN since 2008. In 1993, the Masters introduced its first HD production and became the first golf tournament presented live in HD on network television in 2000.
In 2010, the Masters became the first major sporting event in the United States to be produced and delivered in 3D to televisions and computers in homes throughout North America. In addition, the 2010 Masters gave rise to the first successful live transoceanic 3D distribution, involving select platforms in Europe.
In total, it is expected that the Masters will be telecast live or delayed in more than 200 countries. Additionally, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service will be broadcasting the event to U.S. military installations throughout the world.
It is expected that coverage of the 75th Masters will reach more than 200 countries in 2011.