Anyone can cross Swilcan Bridge, such as an obnoxious tourist trespassing on the 18th fairway, but crossing Swilcan while finishing a tournament or, in the case of Jack Nicklaus, a career, can lead to one of the most memorable moments in life. Sure, it’s “just” a 700 year old stone bridge built to move livestock across, and architecturally speaking it’s not very spectacular, but for a 30 foot bridge across an archaic canal, it certainly has had its fair share of media coverage.
St Andrews Links is the “home of golf” and this archaic bridge, and as such is also home to some of the most well respected golf tournaments on Earth, such as The Open Championship. The Open is one of the four Major tournaments in golf held every year, and the only one held outside of the United States, and it attracts massive amounts of media during the event every July.
During the 2016 Open Championship, the broadcasting crews including Sky Sports and NBC made use of 175 cameras to catch every shot and moment of the tournament and broadcast them to the world. Those moments include Jack Nicklaus’s last crossing of the bridge during a competitive event, which can be watched below.
Those moments do not come cheap however. American broadcaster NBC Sports recently acquired the rights to broadcast the event in the United States from ABC/ESPN for more than $50 million per year for 10 years, and Fox Sports will shell out over $100 million per year for 10 years for the rights to a similar event, the U.S. Open. Paying exorbitant amounts for sports broadcasting rights is nothing new, they’re currently decimating ESPN financially, but how long into the future will broadcasters and advertisers be able to prop up sports just for the right to show sports legends cross 700 year old stone arches?