For fans concerned about the steady migration of sports events from free, over-the-air broadcast TV to cable/satellite and other video subscription services, the recent news of the British Open coming back to broadcast TV was good news.
ESPN and its parent company, Disney, which held rights to the tournament for decades, lost a bid to NBC Sports Group, which in turn has committed to bring back the tournament to broadcast TV starting in 2017.
While most Americans subscribe to cable or satellite TV, many low-income households and so-called “cord cutters” who do not get pay-TV opt for free, over-the-air broadcast TV, especially in HD. While golf might not be the top spectator sport for most Americans, the British Open’s return to broadcast could be a preview of greater accessibility to come. And who knows… maybe the next Tiger Woods will be inspired to attempt that approach to the 18th green with a 9-iron.