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BBC retains green jacket

Roger Mosey | 15:30 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007

There’s good news, I hope, for Rob Mannel. Rob and others have posted on this site asking for news about The Masters because our contract expired earlier this year.

Well, we’re delighted to say that we’ve just signed a new agreement with Augusta National Golf Club, and it means The Masters will remain on BBC television, radio and online for a further three years.

The ‘three years’ is significant. It’s the first time we’ve had this length of contract with our transatlantic friends in Augusta, because they’ve tended to arrange their broadcasting deals one year at a time. That’s been the general pattern since we started our live broadcasts more than 20 years ago.

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There’s no doubt The Masters is special. As viewers and listeners over the years, we’ve become used to the combination of excellence in golf with one of the world’s most beautiful sporting venues. It’s about Tiger and Justin and men called Zach, though we should remember that Augusta is traditionally a happy hunting ground for European players. We won't forget Nick Faldo's multiple triumphs, along with Sandy Lyle as the first British winner and Ian Woosnam's victory in 1991. But it’s also about the extraordinary spectacle of Spring in Georgia around those immaculate greens and fairways.

Our audiences clearly enjoy it massively. A total of 10.2m people (18% of the UK population) tuned in to the TV coverage in 2007; with a further 300,000 viewing online and more still on radio.

So we’ll be continuing BBC Sport’s coverage from Augusta up to and including the tournament in 2010. Our golf portfolio is now strong, with the rest of the list looking like this:

The Open, The Women’s Open and Walker Cup – live TV and online rights until 2011 and radio and online rights until 2009.
The Ryder Cup – extensive TV highlights, live radio and online rights until 2012.
BMW PGA Championship, The Barclays Scottish Open, The Quinn Direct British Masters and HSBC World Match Play Championship – shared live TV, radio and online rights and highlights until 2012.

And if you don’t fancy the football tomorrow afternoon – remember the World Match Play’s there as an alternative on BBC TWO with live coverage today and Sunday too.

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