NBC Sports Network shutting down, sports content headed to USA Network

Ale Xander

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Wondering how much is this Olympics related? Perhaps none, if they're waiting until end of year, not end of NHL season, which IIRC is right before Olympics would have started.

It's not the worst thing in the world, as long as there isn't a reduction of NHL coverage (I am not a Mecum fan, always get upset when that's what NBCSN shows). USA is in more homes/hotels than NBCSN, probably by a significant margin.
 

Catcher Block

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It's been so long since I watched USA that I was surprised to find out that YoutubeTV already carries it. I don't think I've consciously watched it since the Olympics or the final day of the EPL season a few years ago when NBC broadcast all games simultaneously. I certainly can't think of any original programming on USA.

As the details come out, I wonder if this is due to worse-than-expected paid subscriptions for Peacock or something along those lines. (edit: Sports Business Journal says USA currently in 5.5 million more homes than NBCSN.)

View: https://twitter.com/Ourand_SBJ/status/1352707144773201920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
 
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OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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The thing I most care about is the NBCSN PL studio team. They have the best coverage team of any sport IMO. I'll be royally pissed if some bunch of Bristol rejects takes over.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Will be curious to see how/if this impacts affiliate fees that USA charges its carriers. Say they previously asked the Spectrums and YTTV's of the world $10/month for the USA/Bravo/E!/CNBC/MSNBC bundle, with another $1/month for NBCSN on tiers. Do they now bump the main bundle price up to $11... or leave it at $10. Cable/DMVP operators will complain either way -- the former is a clear price hike, the latter force non-sports consumers to foot the bill for a generally less-than-top-tier sports line-up.

Should also be noted that, aside from Wrestling, USA has nothing much going on programming-wise. They already had been discussing a strategy to pivot away from expensive scripted hour shows (where they've bombed time after time, aside from the critically-acclaimed but not very highly-rated Mr. Robot), to unscripted content. Sports certainly fits that bill.

I'd guess they'll have relatively limited live sports on USA and move most of the NBCSN game schedule to Peacock. Call it maybe a weekly prime time game and a weekly weekend daytime game from the NHL, and a weekend Game of the Week from the EPL with studio shows in non-prime time time periods.
 

jtn46

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It's been so long since I watched USA that I was surprised to find out that YoutubeTV already carries it. I don't think I've consciously watched it since the Olympics or the final day of the EPL season a few years ago when NBC broadcast all games simultaneously. I certainly can't think of any original programming on USA.

As the details come out, I wonder if this is due to worse-than-expected paid subscriptions for Peacock or something along those lines. (edit: Sports Business Journal says USA currently in 5.5 million more homes than NBCSN.)

View: https://twitter.com/Ourand_SBJ/status/1352707144773201920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Media conglomerates gonna media conglomerate. Universal's film business is bleeding money so they hit their cable business. I doubt NBC Sports Network ever had remarkable ratings for much, it existed to propel viewers to NBC proper, and recently existed to propel viewers to Peacock. The pandemic gave a media conglomerate a chance to evaluate their whole business and probably NBC Sports Network has been a drag all along.
 

JCizzle

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Will be curious to see how/if this impacts affiliate fees that USA charges its carriers. Say they previously asked the Spectrums and YTTV's of the world $10/month for the USA/Bravo/E!/CNBC/MSNBC bundle, with another $1/month for NBCSN on tiers. Do they now bump the main bundle price up to $11... or leave it at $10. Cable/DMVP operators will complain either way -- the former is a clear price hike, the latter force non-sports consumers to foot the bill for a generally less-than-top-tier sports line-up.

Should also be noted that, aside from Wrestling, USA has nothing much going on programming-wise. They already had been discussing a strategy to pivot away from expensive scripted hour shows (where they've bombed time after time, aside from the critically-acclaimed but not very highly-rated Mr. Robot), to unscripted content. Sports certainly fits that bill.

I'd guess they'll have relatively limited live sports on USA and move most of the NBCSN game schedule to Peacock. Call it maybe a weekly prime time game and a weekly weekend daytime game from the NHL, and a weekend Game of the Week from the EPL with studio shows in non-prime time time periods.
 

joe dokes

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I get Peacock free with Comcast. But i really dont like the inability to DVR stuff. Sometime, I've just got shit to do on Saturday morning, so I record the 2nd half of a game and watch it after.

And as someone mentioned upthread, I will not be happy if they kick Rebecca Lowe and the Robbies to the curb.
 

Nick Kaufman

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I am sad, because it was one of the sports channels I watched the most. Actually, I might have watched it more than ESPN.
 
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I am sad, because it was one of the sports channels I watched the most. Actually, I might have watched it more than ESPN.
I only watched it for Soccer and F1. Every other time, it seemed like they only had some vintage car auction on. With Soccer shifting to Peacock, there didn't seem to be much left there.
 

Nick Kaufman

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I only watched it for Soccer and F1. Every other time, it seemed like they only had some vintage car auction on. With Soccer shifting to Peacock, there didn't seem to be much left there.
Soccer and F1 were enough and more than I watched on ESPN. I guess that's because I don't care for college football and I don't follow baseball anymore.

To be fair I watch the NBA on ESPN. But sportscenter seems quaint now.
 

The Gray Eagle

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This could potentially really suck.

Peacock blows, I am not going to be relying on that for watching Premier League. No DVR is a deal breaker. With YouTube TV and NBCSports, I can DVR every single match that they broadcast, watch them whenever I want, and pause/fast forward/rewind whenever I want. Does NBC think I am going to start paying them money for Peacock to be able to do none of that? They can cram that idea.

Looks like I might have to cut down on watching the Premier League, when I've already started to cut down on watching the Bruins (thanks YTTV and NESN) and might also have to cut back on the Red Sox (same reason).

Oh well, sports is stupid anyway. I mean I love it and am addicted to it, but when you get right down to it, it's stupid and not actually important. Grown men chasing balls around, etc.
 

Vinho Tinto

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They’re going to move EPL programming to USA. May not be apples to apples for match quantity, but they will still be there and NBC.

I really like NBCSN. If it is out, I wonder what this means for the lower rated FS1.
 

Patriot_Reign

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As a side note, it's fascinating to watch as cable channels fragment themselves into the a la carte channels people have pleaded for forever but now with the very real threat of cord cutting they've been forced to acknowledge and make change.
 
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they've put a lot of the sports content on peacock that they used to use nbcsn. for example, they put the direct live feeds of the FIS winter sports there and without the nbc commentators. that is all fine for me
 

Phil Plantier

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I wonder how much their NBCSN "gold" strategy was a part of this. The pricing of it ($5/mo for auto racing, $180/yr for America's cup, $60/yr for bike racing, ??/yr for golf) never made any sense to me.

NBCSN is/was my most watched sports network. EPL, Tour de France, NHL (occasionally), IndyCar this past year. I've already resigned myself to paying for CBS All Access for Champions League and Star Trek. Guess I'll have to do the same for Peacock (sorry, "Peacock Plus") now.

I wonder how this will impact the Olympics, if at all. The NBCSN feed was my favorite: not a lot of packaging but a lot of popular sports.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Apparently the EPL wasn't aware of the move... but I think USA/Peacock is an upgrade for them over NBCSN in terms of available eyeballs so they shouldn't be too upset, though if the article below is to be believed, the EPL isn't thrilled with Peacock's reach:

https://worldsoccertalk.com/2021/01/23/premier-league-blindsided-by-nbcsns-announcement-to-shut-channel-says-source/
Where EPL goes in 2022, when the deal is up, is gonna be fascinating. Here's a take on the contenders:

1. DISNEY (ESPN/ESPN+) -- Having gone nearly all-in on direct-to-consumer, it certainly seems like they see the end of the linear network in the seeable future and need to really pump up the content for ESPN+. Certainly have deep enough pockets, even if Disney is loathe to reach all the way into them.

2. VIACOM (PARAMOUNT/PARAMOUNT+) -- Viacom has been talking up sports as an essential component of their upcoming DTC platform, even though there's not much there at the moment. CBS Sports can kick in NCAA sports (although not so much football), as well as golf and some NASCAR. They picked up UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues, which obviously would complement EPL well. Could certainly use Paramount Channel as a linear complement to Paramount+, though there's no sports audience there and it's several notches below USA or ESPN -- a Turner or Discovery partnership might make more sense. I'd guess Viacom could find enough money for this, though they're not as well-heeled as most of the other competitors here.

3. COMCAST (USA/PEACOCK) -- Seems like it should be a good complementary pairing of linear and DTC platforms. The Comcast side of the business wants to ensure some meaningful live sports content remains on old-school linear cable. NBCU-owned Sky is a meaningful international broadcaster and there could be an opportunity for negotiation leverage there. That said, EPL allegedly not loving Peacock.

4. FOX SPORTS -- With FX now in the Disney family, they don't have a great linear platform to bring to the table. FSN appears to be downsizing, not looking to add. But they do have the World Cup in 2022, and that's just about the best partner programming for EPL you could want.

5. STRAIGHT DTC PLAYS (AMAZON, NETFLIX, APPLE) -- All have all the money in the world to mount a winning bid, but I'd guess, like the NFL, the EPL would prefer to maintain a broadcast or cable component for their marquee events. Also these platforms (especially Netflix) strongly prefer worldwide rights, and it seems unlikely EPL would be looking to include anything beyond the US.

6. DISCOVERY (DISCOVERY+) -- Longshot in that they have no US sports content at all, but internationally they're huge, including much of the ex-UK rights for the EPL. I doubt they'd go all in (or EPL would want them as an exclusive US partner), but I could see them teaming up somehow with Viacom.

7. FUBO, DAZN -- Just don't see these having the dough to land anything except a tertiary piece at best

8. WARNERMEDIA (Turner, HBOMax) -- The Turner networks would be a great linear home, but HBOMax hasn't revealed any interest in live sports, and it's doesn't have especially better reach than Peacock. I suppose a Paramount+/Turner combination (with Turner replacing the modest Paramount Network on the linear side) could be compelling.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Doesn't this effectively boil down to the fact that NBCSN didn't have enough popular content to justify a 24-hour channel? So they move the relatively popular stuff that was on that channel to USA (which itself probably didn't have enough content to justify a 24-hour channel before this), the less popular stuff to Peacock, and then don't have to incur whatever additional costs come with running a separate sports channel. Seems to make sense to me.

I suspect that Fox wishes it could do something similar with FS1, but they don't have a channel like USA that is just kinda sitting there waiting for somebody to fill it with content.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I suspect that Fox wishes it could do something similar with FS1, but they don't have a channel like USA that is just kinda sitting there waiting for somebody to fill it with content.
I'd believe that more if Fox shut down FS2 first. The advantage Fox has over NBC is that they have international content they can use to fill airtime at very little to no additional cost. For example, Australian Rules Football. Fox has a dedicated channel for that in Australia, so simulcasting it in the States is simple. And what used to be a once a week broadcast on FS2 (plus other games on Fox Soccer Plus) was 3-4 games a week between FS1 and FS2 this past summer when other content was lacking.

CBS might be the more likely candidate to go the same route as NBC with its sports channel. They have a streaming platform and several cable channels to choose from to fill the USA role.
 

jtn46

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Doesn't this effectively boil down to the fact that NBCSN didn't have enough popular content to justify a 24-hour channel? So they move the relatively popular stuff that was on that channel to USA (which itself probably didn't have enough content to justify a 24-hour channel before this), the less popular stuff to Peacock, and then don't have to incur whatever additional costs come with running a separate sports channel. Seems to make sense to me.

I suspect that Fox wishes it could do something similar with FS1, but they don't have a channel like USA that is just kinda sitting there waiting for somebody to fill it with content.
I don’t think so because I don’t think Fox wants to have to deal with creating content for an entertainment cable network like USA anymore. I’m sure they wish FS1 performed better, but post Disney-acquisition Fox has a really trim and agile business and for broadcast TV the future is a lot of live TV like sports and news which they have both of in spades.