Golf fans won’t be able to watch televised coverage of world No 1 Lydia Ko playing in the New Zealand Women’s Open.
New Zealander Ko will return to Christchurch to defend her title at the Clearwater course next weekend, but the tournament won’t be screened live on TV because production costs have been deemed too exorbitant.
New Zealand Golf boss Dean Murphy said his organisation would have to pay for the costs of televising the vent and they couldn’t afford to shell out the $600,000-$650,000 required.
That figure dwarfs the prize money of around $360,000 on offer at the 54-hole championship, which has been co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf.
“There is a huge amount of interest, but regrettably the costs of production sit with the event,” Murphy said. “As a national sporting body we just can’t justify that sort of expenditure. We don’t have the money.”
Production expenses include hiring equipment, cameras, satellites, production suites and staff. It is understood the costs for producing the event last year were set at around $500,000.
Last year Sky TV stated they would have lost money if they paid for everything themselves.
Golf is expensive to cover because of the length of the tournaments, unlike sports such as rugby and football which last less than two hours.
Finding another party to pay for production costs would have allowed Sky to just look at purchasing rights to broadcast the feed. Sky couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.
Murphy said Sky Sport would screen a highlights package after the tournament.
Last year Dunedin businessman and sports production expert Ian Taylor wanted to provide a live stream of Ko’s rounds at Clearwater and issued a plea for additional support.
He required a radio frequency signal and two cameras to follow Ko and her group around the course in the hope of streaming the action.
Murphy said NZ Golf had tried to raise money to invest in the coverage but the “appetite wasn’t there”.
“We have tried very hard to raise the budget and money to do it, but it was just fiscally not possible for an event of this size to have those production costs. While we will have the world’s best player there, the only way to watch it live will be in person.”