ESPN inks British Open deal<br />

Grabs rights for the next eight years

NEW YORK -- A day after Turner Sports dropped out of the bidding, ESPN has reached an eight-year deal to carry the British Open golf championship.

Terms of the deal weren't announced, though ESPN is believed to be paying substantially more than the $4 million a year that Turner has been paying for its seven-year deal that ends in 2009.

Still to come for ESPN is a possible deal for the Bowl Championship Series, which would come with a big price tag for the cable sports giant. The rights to that are held by Fox.

The British Open live coverage will, in 2010, be completely on ESPN, with 34 hours over four days, plus six hours of taped highlight coverage on ABC. The deal, with the R&A organizers, also includes digital rights. ABC will have televised a portion of the British Open for more than 50 years when the new deal is completed.

Also in the deal is coverage of the Senior Open Championship every year and the Walker Cups when they are played in the U.K., in 2011 and 2015.
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