Fox Sports tees off its primetime coverage of the U.S. Open golf championship tonight (June 13) with FS1 offering a alternative feed that will follow every shot from such golfers as Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka alongside Fox Broadcasting’s main telecast.
FS1, which launched Fox Sports' live U.S. Open coverage this afternoon, will switch to a targeted feed at 7:30 that will follow two groups featuring Woods, Jordan Spieth and defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka. Fox Broadcasting will pick up full coverage of the championship at the same time.
Usually featured group feeds are only available digitally on Fox Sports apps and other sports sites, but Fox Sports executive vice president and head of programming Bill Wanger said that Fox wanted to experiment with offering the dedicated feed on a linear TV channel.
“We thought it was a unique opportunity being at Pebble Beach -- and with Tiger’s group and Brooks Koepka’s group playing in primetime -- to showcase those two groups on FS1 at the same time that Fox broadcast network has the main telecast with all the golfers,” he said. “We thought it would be a great benefit for the fans.”
Wanger said the FS1 coverage will not hurt viewership for the Fox’s general coverage of the championship, adding that both networks will run the same advertisements at the same time during its telecasts.
“We’ve found in the past that you’re not actually taking away viewers, but adding viewers to the pot, so we feel confident that both numbers will be strong,” he said. “It’s also an added benefit for our advertising partners as well because you get a little boost -- we get to cume up ratings.”
Wanger said that the alternative feed will only run on Thursday night due to other FS1 contractual primetime scheduling commitments -- including live FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer coverage -- over the weekend. Overall, Wagner said he’s confident the Fox Sports will be able to drive strong ratings for its Open coverage through the weekend.
“We’re definitely confident in the viewership we’re see for the tournament,” he said. “One of the great thing about being on the west coast is being able to put golf into primetime. On Thursday and Friday we’ll run until 10 or 10:30 when most people are home and available to watch. Anytime you get a west coast location for a tournament as iconic as Pebble Beach, I think there will be a lot of interest.”