• James McGee

And NOW - for my rant of the week....


The good news: it's the British Open Golf Championship next week. The bad news: it's on the Sky Sports channel.


As with previous years - well, except for 2020, due to the bloody pandemic - I was all set to tune in on Thursday, using the NOW TV facility, which, if you don't subscribe to Sky, enables you to watch Sky stuff on an ad hoc basis, via a very convenient pass system.


Back in 2019, I was able to watch four days of live golf for the extremely reasonable sum of £15.99 (the cost of a Weekly Pass at the time). Bargain, I thought, and a very enjoyable championship was had by all. Well, it was only me in my house but you get the picture.


Flick forward to 2021 to discover that Sky have withdrawn their weekly pass.


Now (ahem), you either have to purchase a monthly Sports Pass for £33.99 or a Daily Pass for - wait for it - £9.98. I have no use for a monthly pass, so four days of golf will now set me back an exorbitant £39.96. That's - pause while I do the math - a 250% increase.


Nice going, Sky.


Not that I blame them entirely. The blame for this, in my humble opinion, lies firmly at the feet of the Royal and Ancient, who, when the rights to broadcast were being negotiated back in 2015, went for the cash rather than the potential viewing figures. The bottom line being that Sky out bid the Beeb by several million quid.


At the time, Peter Dawson, R & A's Chief Executive, stated: "Importantly, the new agreement will enable us to increase substantially our support for golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland."


Right, by immediately losing several million viewers who would like to watch the championship live on something other than a pay-to-view channel.


My plan? To catch up with the highlights on the BBC in the evening, while trying to avoid all mention of the matches beforehand. Let's face it, though, with no wretched commercial breaks and with better commentators, the BBC's always provided brilliant coverage. It's only sad that this time we won't have the irreplaceable Peter Allis to keep us company.


RIP

Sod it....on both counts.