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Sky dedicates channel to The Open; does U-turn on channel numbers

Sky Sports is to dedicate an entire channel to The Open tournament following its takeover of all live TV rights in the UK.

From 11th July, Sky Sports 1 will become "Sky Sports The Open". Live coverage of the event from Royal Troon starts at 6:35am on the 14th July with the channel showing the opening tee shot - the first time that's been shown live on TV in the UK and Ireland, according to Sky.

Early schedules from the broadcaster indicate coverage of The Open will also be broadcast on Sky Sports 4. However, by converting Sky Sports 1 into a Golf channel for the duration of the 145th Open, Sky is also enabling BT TV users to watch the event, as only Sky Sports 1 and 2 are carried on BT's YouView TV service.

Due to cost-cutting, the BBC sacrificed live rights to The Open, but will continue to show extended highlights on TV in the evenings.

Coverage of The Open on Sky Sports will feature commentary and analysis from some of the biggest names in golf including Paul McGinley, Butch Harmon and Colin Montgomerie.

Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said:
"The Open is the pre-eminent golf Major and Sky Sports will offer the Championship the coverage it deserves. We're excited and honoured to be covering the event and can't wait for it to begin."

Channel numbering U-turn
On the same day that Sky Sports The Open launches, Sky is to undo its unpopular decision to promote Sky Sports News HQ ahead of other Sky Sports channels on its platform: Sky Sports News HQ moves to channel 406, allowing Sky Sports 1 - 5 to move back to channels 401-405. Sky Sports F1 will be on 407.