NBC is slated to close NBCSN by the end of 2021
NBC is getting out of business with sports networks.
Reporting for the first time from the Sports Business Journal, NBC plans to close the NBC Sports Network by the end of 2021. NBCSN serves as the sports home for NBC programs and regularly broadcasts NHL and English Premier League games, as well as NASCAR races and college basketball games.
According to the report, NBC would move certain sporting events to the US network. It is currently in more households than NBCSN. NBC’s deal with the NHL expires this season and Fox was reportedly interested in NHL rights.
The big question is how a league like the NHL will react to the closure of a network that has been playing its games for 15 years. The NHL’s contract with NBC ends after this season. The NHL has made it clear that it wants to split its rights between at least two television channels. NBC has told the NHL that it will clip regular windows on its broadcast channel and on the USA Network, which serves 86.2 million households, as well as Peacock.
NBC recently started showing EPL games on Peacock, its new streaming service. Peacock was the home of the Sunday game between Liverpool and Manchester United, a battle for first place that was arguably the biggest game Peacock has shown to date.
A memo to NBC staff said events like NHL playoff games and NASCAR races in the US would be broadcast simultaneously before NBCSN officially closes.
“This will make USA Network an exceptionally powerful platform in the media marketplace and will give our sports programming a significant audience boost,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports. “We believe that the power of this offering is the best long-term strategy for our sports group, our partners and our company.”
Peacock launched in 2020
NBC launched Peacock in April 2020 and charges $ 5 per month for its middle tier of service, which includes certain EPL games. EPL games became anchor sports content for Peacock after NBC previously offered a package of games online through its NBC Sports Gold platforms.
It’s unclear how many EPL games will be shown in the US or whether NBC would broadcast more games to Peacock. An increase in EPL games on Peacock would further increase the number of European football leagues that are only available to US consumers via streaming services. Games from the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A are available along with numerous other soccer competitions from around the world via the ESPN streaming service ESPN +.
Peacock would likely serve as a home for NASCAR as well as NBCSN closes. NBC currently has the rights to the second half of the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series seasons. While some of these races are on NBC, much of these races are on NBCSN. Will all of these NBCSN races be shown in the US or will some of them only be available through Peacock?
NASCAR’s current television deal with NBC and Fox runs for the 2024 season. NBC also has the rights to the IndyCar series and the Indianapolis 500, although the IndyCar deal only runs for the 2021 season.
NBCSN used to be Versus
The NBC Sports Network was launched in 2012. The network was founded in 1995 as the Outdoor Life Network and renamed Versus in 2006. That network then became the NBC Sports Network as we know it.
In addition to showing live sports from the above leagues, NBCSN was home to the Mecum auto auction programs as well as NBC NASCAR and soccer programs. The network has also shown Sky Sports programs on weekdays after parent company Comcast acquired Sky in 2019.