The NBC Sports Group launches the NBC Sports Network at 4 PM ET on January 2nd to replace Versus, which had been Comcast’s bullriding and gunshooting and cycling channel pre-NBC Universal merger. The new strategy is to bring all four tiers of NBC Sports Group’s assets (broadcast network, two national cable networks, 11 regional sports networks and digital) into “a consistent framework of branding”. The better to compete with Disney’s ESPN and Fox Sports. The NBC Sports Network will serve as a 24/7 cable platform, according to Jon Miller, the president of programming for NBC Sports and the NBC Sports Network: “We have three tranches of programming that we’re looking to put on NBC Sports Network starting with live events, live games, and big-league relationships. The second tranche is original news, talk and conversation. The third tranche is the original programming we’ve developed with the NHL around shows like NHL 36, with the NFL like NFL Turning Point, and with the Bob Costas show that will be breaking this year, Costas Tonight, as well as the Costas Town Halls. We’ll embrace the brands that are already associated with NBC Sports like the Triple Crown. We’ve added the MLS to our portfolio. We have a strong and robust relationship with the Tour de France. And then we will obviously have an extensive Olympic presence come June, July, and August with the Olympic trials, then actually live Olympic programming throughout the game.”
Highlights of NBC Sports Group’s January 2 Schedule (all times are ET:
7:30 AM: VERSUS Replay of 2010 NHL Winter Classic
10 AM: VERSUS Replay of 2011 NHL Winter Classic
1 PM: NBC 2012 NHL Winter Classic
3 PM: VERSUS NBC Sports: A Storied History
4 PM: NBC Sports Network NHL Live Post-Game (from Philadelphia)
4:30 PM: NBC Sports Network Cold War on Ice: 1972 Summit Series
6 PM: NBC Sports Network NBC SportsTalk
7:30 PM: NBC Sports Network NHL Live Pre-Game
8 PM: NBC Sports Network NHL: San Jose at Vancouver
10:30 PM: NBC Sports Network NHL Live Post-Game
11 PM: NBC Sports Network Replay of NBC SportsTalk
12:30 AM: NBC Sports Network NHL Overtime
Ross Greenburg, who in July departed as president of HBO Sports, has been tapped to produce documentaries for the newly formed NBC Sports Group, which includes the NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel and NBC. He also will produce Costas … Read More »
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UPDATE, 12:00 PM: NBC says it paid $4.38 billion for the four Olympics matches. But the network won because NBC’s track record with the games “speaks for itself” and the company “has a clear and innovative vision of where it wants to take the broadcast of the Games between now and 2020,” International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge says. Investors initially appear to be satisfied with the price that Comcast authorized NBC to pay. Even if the network loses money “we continue to see the Olympics as less of a financial decision and more of a strategic and branding initiative” for NBC, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker says. Comcast expects the Olympics to help stabilize NBC, which the cable company has vowed to revive. In addition. Comcast plans to use the games to beef up its cable networks Versus and The Golf Channel.
PREVIOUS, 10:00 AM: Deadline has now confirmed that NBC has retained the U.S. Olympic television rights in a 4-games deal through 2020. The AP was first to report the news out of Lausanne where the International Olympics Committee is meeting and puts the bidding number at ”worth more than $4 billion” — which is $1 billion less than expected. The decision has not yet been officially announced by the International Olympic Committee, but NBC is acknowledging it won a 3-way bidding contest against ESPN and Fox. It will have exclusive rights to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the 2018 Winter Games and 2020 Olympics, whose sites have not yet been chosen. NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Games since 2002.
Executives from NBC, ESPN and Fox submitted sealed envelopes into a see-through plexiglass box, then left the building to let IOC officials open them and consider the offers in private for the first U.S. rights auction for the Olympics since 2003. All three networks kept emphasizing in their presentations that the Olympics would be presented live, something which NBC has come under fire for because of all the tape-delaying of the games to air during primetime in recent years. Here’s hoping that NBC changes its ways without Dick Ebersol at the helm. That said, the NBC win is going to help Comcast’s long-range plans to make its sports network into a juggernaut able to challenge both ESPN and Fox Sports.
NBC’s presentation to the IOC included new Comcast owners Steve Burke and Brian Roberts. Missing, of course, was longtime NBC sports czar Dick Ebersol who resigned last month after butting heads with Comcast. But the 17-member NBC delegation included mainstay Olympics host Bob Costas. ”My message was we’ve done it well and we’d like to do it again,” he said from Lausanne. Read More »
UPDATE, 10:45 AM: The 10-year contract will take the partnership through the 2020-21 season and calls for 100 regular-season games a year, including for the first time a national broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday. The press release is below.
PREVIOUS, 9:29 AM: There’s a conference call scheduled for later today in which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol are expected to announce that NBC and Versus have retained broadcast rights to NHL hockey. Bloomberg reports that the package is for 10 years and worth $2 billion. The two networks could match any bid because they own the current rights. Among the bidders was ESPN and Turner Sports, the latter of which pulled out of the race Monday.
NEW YORK (April 19, 2011) — The National Hockey League and the NBC Sports Group have reached agreement on a landmark 10-year television and media rights deal, taking the partnership through the 2020-21 season. The expanded partnership, under which NBC remains the exclusive network home and VERSUS the exclusive cable home of the NHL® in the U.S., is highlighted by the first-ever national distribution of all Stanley Cup® Playoffs contests, including, for the first time, exclusive coverage starting with the Conference Semifinals. The agreement also calls for the NBC Sports Group to televise 100 regular season games per year and introduces a national NBC broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday. The announcement was made today by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.
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With Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal completed, the newly formed NBC Sports Group – which consists of NBC Sports, Golf Channel, VERSUS and 11 Comcast regional sports networks – this morning unveiled its executive structure under chairman Dick Ebersol. Turner veteran Mark Lazarus, who has long been rumored to take run the new group’s cable properties, is the only outsider on the team, while NBC Sports execs are being given the reins of Comcast’s Versus and Golf Channel. Here is a rundown of the new exec hierarchy: Read More »