Mike McQuade, VP of production for ESPN, told reporters Wednesday that there will be no letdown in his network's coverage of The [British] Open golf tournament next week at St. Andrews as the cable network and co-owned ABC near the end of their TV contract after over 50 years on either ABC or ESPN.
NBC and Golf Channel grabbed the major championship last month in a 12-yaer deal that starts in 2017.
On a press call, an ESPN exec brought up speculation about whether there would be any drop-off.
McQuade conceded it was "deeply disappointing" that next year would be the last for what was characterized a 365-day-a-year labor of love, but said that his team was focused on making the coverage—of all four days of the tournament—as good as it can be. "Nothing has changed in our approach," he said.
Analyst Paul Azinger agreed, saying "the best is yet to come." Analyst and on-course reporter Andy North, though a little under the weather (appropriate for golf in Scotland), seconded that. "We're really fired up and as prepared and professional as any group I have ever worked with," he said.