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To the surprise of the more established golf broadcasters, the US sports channel Fox Sports had secured the contract for the broadcasting rights to the US Open in Chambers Bay this year. After just a few days, the results are sobering: viewers and other American media are going to court with the station.

A lot of effort for little revenue?

Already in the run-up to the US Open, the station boasted a lot of technical highlights and also in terms of advertising, the fans’ anticipation of the second major rose every minute. But not only the spots alone made the heart of the golfers beat faster, the spectacle was also teased with drones flying over every hole. With an advertising budget of 15 million dollars, the mission started on an unforgettable major. The station tried to attract crowds for the golf highlight with scenes and locations, some of which were elaborately put together. Even for a half-minute commercial with Rickie Fowler, the station spared no expense.

With the help of drones, robot cameras and remote-controlled cameras, the station hoped to provide all-round service from all locations on the course. Although the pictures so far offer high quality, they were not really convincing. For example, the public wonders why putt situations are so often faded in. Some of the US-American media, which dealt with the questionable technical expenditure, also came across this. Also, the self-propelled or robot cameras are excellent for filming a scene on a flat surface, but not for successfully designing a golf broadcast. Since the self-propelled cameras reach different types of ground, not only the height but also the position of the camera shifts, so that blurred images can occur.

US Open also beats Masters in Germany

Fox Sports will broadcast a total of 38 hours of LIVE Golf over four days, seven hours more than the first major of the year in Augusta. This is due to the acquired rights, and the cooperation with the USGA that Fox has agreed upon gives the broadcaster every opportunity to do so. Money also plays a major role – in terms of finances, ESPN or CBS, for example, cannot keep up with Fox.

While the US Open is broadcast on Free TV, only the pay-TV channel Sky is available in Germany. With just under 29 hours of LIVE transmission, the channel delivers nine hours less than Fox Sports from the USA. This is mainly due to the nine-hour time difference between Berlin and Seattle. In addition, golf is not as popular in Germany as it is in the United States.

Is golf the wrong sport for Fox Sports?

Fox Sports is best known for its ice hockey, American football and baseball broadcasts. With the US Open in 2015, a new division opened with the golf transfer. But can Fox Golf ever? The station is currently being harshly criticized in the media. For example, Yahoo! Sports was smug about the lost leaderboard, the Washington Post reported on the reactions of angry fans and SB Nation didn’t seem sure what was worse: Tiger’s 80s opening round or the Fox broadcast. The shooting is sharp because of disturbing factors like superfluous analyses, faulty ads, superfluous leaderboard fade-ins and too many putt fade-ins.

It is agreed that there are also still some shortcomings in the camera work. Often the cameraman does not find the balls or shows a blurred picture. Also the fact that some times in the middle of a blow an advertising break is played in and the sound effects for a golf transmission turn out nevertheless quite pompous, heats the minds. Although Fox is a newcomer to golf, the contract for the US broadcast was carved in stone for a full twelve years. In the coming years, the station will have to urgently show that it can hold its own in the industry despite criticism of ESPN, NBC, CBS and Golf Channel.