NORTON, Mass. (AP) — The PGA Tour had what Commissioner Tim Finchem described as "robust" conversations with Fox Sports in two of the last three television negotiations until scheduling conflicts with the network kept the discussion from going anywhere.
Fox entered the golf landscape in a surprising manner three weeks ago by signing a 12-year deal with the U.S. Golf Association worth about $100 million a year. Fox, which does not televise any golf, is to start with the U.S. Open and other USGA championships in 2015.
The USGA accepted its bid over a strong offer from NBC Sports, which had been televising the U.S. Open since 1995 at Shinnecock Hills. NBC also has 12 other PGA Tour events this year, and it broadcasts the Ryder Cup.
Johnny Miller, the former U.S. Open champion and NBC golf analyst, said when the Fox deal was announced that the tour "must be licking their chops" and that Fox might offer "crazy money to get the tour package."
The PGA Tour has contracts with two networks, NBC and CBS, and with Golf Channel through 2021.
Even so, Finchem said Wednesday that having Fox involved in golf is good for the tour over the long run.
"It's always nice to have multiple entities in the sport," Finchem said at the Deutsche Bank Championship. "There are positives — a few negatives, but there are positives. To have companies invested in the sport in any way results in more focus on the sport from those broadcast companies. ... So there are different advantages. I think it's to our advantage long term. There will be some transition challenges there, but I think it's to your advantages long term to have them involved."
He said the tour has spoken to Fox "a number of times" in the last 10 to 15 years.
"We just never got to an arrangement, but we know they have an interest," he said. "We had serious, robust conversations in the middle of two of the negotiations in the last three. One of the main issues with them is scheduling. I mean, they have a lot of baseball. They have a lot of NASCAR. They have stuff, given the way Fox is set up. And we really like our two-network arrangement right now, anyways."
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