NBC Delays Airing of President's Cup Final

NBC tape delayed the start of the singles matches on Sunday in the President's Cup, which has suffered through a number of lengthy rain delays forcing the tournament to move tee times and reschedule uncompleted rounds and NBC and Golf Channel to fill some time with tape delayed recaps of earlier play.

By Sunday morning, golf fans were itching for some final round live coverage only to find that NBC was not airing the finals singles matches live.

Golf Channel did provide live coverage of the delayed end of Saturday matches--from 7:30 a.m. to about 9:30 a.m., which it was not scheduled to do.

According to an NBC source speaking on background, Golf Channel was able to do the early morning live coverage because the NBC coverage had met its ad commitments the night before. But the rescheduled early start of the Sunday singles finals matches were not covered live on either network so NBC could stick to its planned noon-6 window. The early start was to make sure the round could be finished in case the rain intervened yet again.

On the PGA's Web site, some golf fans were giving NBC and the Golf Channel some grief.

"Is NBC seriously going to tape delay this broadcast? Are they joking?" said one. "I thought I found it LIVE online but it is just Golf Channel/NBC showing tape delayed coverage of the Seve Trophy [a European team competition with a similar format]."

"What is wrong with these people?" said another.

"Tee times were moved to the morning due to expected poor weather," said a Golf Channel on NBC spokesperson.

Contractual obligations, affiliate commitments, and NBC's Sunday morning news and public affairs programming necessitated delayed coverage on NBC, barring further weather delays. That commitment included getting six hours from NBC affiliates for the Sunday coverage.

A source said either NBC or Golf Channel would have loved to go live, but that for NBC it would have meant trying to move Meet the Press and winding up with a hole at the end of the day. Moving it to Golf would not have worked given the ads already sold into the NBC coverage. And if there had been another rain delay Sunday, as they thought might happen, NBC might have been able to provide some live coverage if delayed play had caught up with the NBC 1 p.m.-6 p.m. window.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.