2012 British Open golf television coverage

DON’T bother looking for Australian free to air television coverage schedules for the 2012 British Open golf as there won’t be any.

Free to air tv coverage of the hallowed golfing event last year dwindled to nothing and that is not about to change anytime soon.

Many forlornly search at this time of year hoping an Australian television network will come to the party – even just with one hour highlight packages – only to be disappointed.

The simple fact is that Channel 9, the traditional broadcaster of The Open in Australia, no longer has any interest in covering the event and no other free to air broadcaster wants to take up the rights.

Many golf fans look to Australia’s anti-siphoning laws as a saviour but there is a lot of confusion about what can be a complicated area.

Under the new anti-siphoning legislation (introduced on 22 March 2012 but yet to be passed) there are only three golf events on the “protected” list.

These are the Australian Masters, Australian Open and US Masters.

The good thing about the new legislation is that because these three golf events are listed as “Tier B” events, the Australian networks will now be allowed to broadcast them exclusively on their free to air digital channels.

That, in theory at least, would be an incentive for someone like Channel Ten for example to be able to broadcast the Australian Open on its ONE network rather than previously where it had to be shown first on the main channel. (Ten has already announced it will not be broadcasting the 2012 Australian Open).

What the anti-siphoning laws don’t do is force free to air channels to buy the rights to any sporting events or to broadcast them.

The main thrust of the laws is to prevent pay television broadcasters buying the rights to events on the anti-siphoning list before free-to-air broadcasters have the opportunity to purchase them.

The new laws will introduce another important measure in that they will stop free to air broadcasters from “hoarding” rights if they don’t intend to cover events themselves.

If free to air broadcasters have the rights to an event and they don’t intend to fully use them they have to offer them on to other free to air broadcasters before they can go to pay television.

None of this helps the British Open of course. It is not on the list in the first place and if it were that simple fact wouldn’t force it being broadcast.

In the commercial broadcasting world the only thing that matters these days is ratings, and golf just isn’t rating enough at present. Perhaps we can start looking to the ABC and SBS?

In the meantime, the only recourse for those wishing to see the British Open is pay television or maybe even live internet streaming at somewhere like P2P golf.

2012 British Open Fox Sports Coverage

The good news for Foxtel/Austar subscribers in Australia is that there will be more 2012 British Open Coverage than you can possibly poke a stick at.

There’ll be lots of British Open Official Film screenings and previews beforehand but live coverage begins Thursday July 19, 6pm to 4am.

1st Round: Thursday July 19, Live 6pm – 4am; Friday July 20, Repeats/Highlights, 8am – 11.30am; 1.30pm – 5pm.

2nd Round: Friday July 20, Live 6pm – 4am; Saturday July 21, Repeat/Highlights, 8am – 12 noon; 2pm – 6pm.

3nd Round: Saturday July 21, Live 7pm – 4am; Sunday July 22, Repeat/Highlights, 8am – 12 noon; 4pm – 8pm.

Final Round: Sunday July 22, Live 8pm – 4am; Monday, July 23, Repeat/Highlights, 9am – 12 noon; 3.30pm – 6.30pm.

Federal Government Anti-siphoning reforms fact sheet


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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017

7 COMMENTS

  1. Reader Rod Thurley emailed the following comments regarding the lack of free to air television coverage of the British Open. There’s a lot of fodder for thought here.
    “i have read with interest your post regarding lack of coverage on free to air television , namely The British Open 2012 .
    i agree with all you have to say on the matter.
    what can we do about it?
    please do not say “nothing”.
    minority groups of all descriptions have had results influencing our politicans to change or introduce laws to their advantage , why cannot the Australian golfing public ( surely numbering many millions ) come together and form a lobby group to pressure politicans into enforcing laws to the advantage of the golfing community .
    the belief that golf is not rating well enough is not correct , it does rate better than the sports of little interest that the media groups televise in time slots previously allocated to major golfing events.
    the truth is golf rates well enough that pay tv wants it!
    he lies the problem that we golfers face , free to air television companies conjure up deals between themselves so as to organise major sporting events ( 2012 british open golf ) to end up exclusively on pay tv .
    this practise will eventually spread through to all major sporting events both within Australia and overseas . Our politicans are more interested in listening to lobby groups who stalk the corridors of Canberra when in fact they should be protecting the public from such lobby groups who represent organisations such as the television companies.
    this practise can be stopped by us , the british open golf can be returned to free to air television , along with other sporting events, if we lobby our politicans hard enough.
    we must do something about it !
    regards ,
    rod thurley”

  2. This discussion seems familiar…we were at it a month ago…just substitute US Open for the British! Getting to the stage where I’d rather get even than get angry. Anyone who wants reasonable coverage, without troubling the pay TV people with a subscription, could do worse than check out watchgolflive.com…for a 12 month “membership” (costs about $10…they take paypal, and even send a reciept!) quite good coverage can be had on the home computer…plus access to all manner of other interational sporting events. I fully expected to be relieved of my $10 and realise I’d been conned… but I have been pleasantly surprised. I have chosen to take the site at its word when it says it is a completely legal service…obviously everyone should make their own assessment !!

  3. This is a blow to Sports Viewers, who love to watch major events, but have to pay for this. Today’s TV shows are the pits, especially watching AFL fo0ty all year round, becomes sickening

  4. Hi All, I may not be a senior golfer, but I’m getting there!!.
    To say that it is frustrating not to be able to watch major sporting events, especially golfing events such as the British Open on free to air television is frankly appalling. Not every citizen in this country can afford pay TV. I can, but refrain at my own sports viewing detriment.
    Have to agree with Rod Thurley, isn’t it about time we made our voices loader……surely the number in the golfing community would have a significant voice…..time to speak up golfers!!!.
    Enjoy your rounds this weekend…..whilst dreaming of crossing the old bridge one day in person…or should I say…..at the least….seeing it on telly again one day!!.

  5. Another ten years and surely many golf clubs around Australia will become housing estates, and not being on free to air tv will be one of the reasons. As a teenager in the sixties and becoming interested in golf there were tv shows like The Big Three and Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf and plenty of coverage of Australian golf… memories of a bygone era. Lifting restrictions on the use of motorised buggies and golf carts has enabled many to keep playing, but when this older group stops playing who will take over?

  6. What a disgrace. If Adam Scott wins and he will, Australian Television has not supported him one iota. Shame!

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