Tuesday, February 03, 2015



Renowned BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss has expressed his disappointment that the RandA have awarded Sky Sports the live television rights to The Open, with the BBC reduced to showing evening highlights for the famous Claret Jug.

Alliss is undecided about his future but admits that there is no better place to call quits on a long and illustrious career than at the home of golf, St Andrews, where this year's Open is being staged.
“It’s the end of an era. I’ve worked with lovely people and I’ve had the opportunity of working in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. It’s been a joyous adventure for me and I’m not getting any younger. I can’t go on forever.
“So this might be my last one. A glorious place to finish, St Andrews. Nicklaus, Watson, all the big boys have finished at St Andrews, so I might be the next one to go. I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
The former Ryder Cup player-turned-commentator, who is arguably the most recognised voice in golf, believes that it is a sign of things to come and that he would not be surprised if the BBC were showing no sport in the not-so-distant future.
The RandA  announced today that Sky had secured the exclusive rights in a five-year deal from 2017, taking over from the BBC, which has had a 60-year partnership with golf's oldest major.

Alliss admits that he is disappointed with the governing body, while he also feels that the BBC perhaps did not fight as hard as they could have to keep the historic tournament on free-to-air television.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed,” Alliss told RTÉ Sport. ”And I'm also disappointed for a lot of ordinary golfers who do not have Sky.
“The R&A have always said that their job is to promote the game of golf and that they are standard bearers for the game and taking it around the world. But they have just deprived a couple of million people of watching it live.
“I have a terrible feeling that the powers-that-be at the BBC didn’t quite fight hard enough to keep it or indeed keep sport, because we have lost a hell of a lot of sport over the last five or ten years.
“When I first started, we did 18 televised events and this year we will do exclusively two, The Open and the Women’s Open.
“The way it’s going, you wouldn’t want to bet that there will be any sport on the BBC in 15 years' time.
“What I do think is weird, considering the Open Championship has been going since 1860 and it’s one of the world’s great sporting event, I don’t know why it’s not on that list of events that have to be shown on terrestrial television.”
Alliss has been working for the BBC since 1961 and while the legendary commentator admits that he feels a bit of sadness as an era is ending, he feels no anger towards Sky, who he believes do a great job covering the game.
“I’m a great fan of Sky, I think they have done an amazing job presenting and they have had new little gimics and all sorts of stuff. Their presentation is more flashy than ours.”

But Alliss also pointed out that a lot of the hype of pay-per-view broadcasters is not to be believed and is lacking the personal touch and viewer numbers that the BBC brought to the coverage.
“There has been some nonsense. They talk about their cameras being so much better but it is the same pool of cameramen that work for tour productions and come to the BBC. They are all the same. They have more gizmos and more bits and pieces. It’s more showy.
“The BBC are trying to compete but they have no chance. (However) Sky get about one million (viewers) and we get five million, so it’s about five or six to one and that’s the brutal facts of it.
“Our proud boast was that we showed everybody on the first two days. Everybody who entered the competition got 15-20 seconds of air.”

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