The more successful your network is, the better the shows on that network are going to do. Joe Flint, a reporter for Wall Street, reported on Twitter that NBC Sports Network is closing down later this year, and significant events NHL, NASCAR among them will migrate to USA Network. Before going into detail, let’s look at how this all started?
History of NBC
Since starting in 1995 as the Outdoor Life Network, NBCSN has had a complicated past, eventually becoming Versus and ultimately NBCSN since NBC purchased the channel.
NBCSN is an American pay television channel operated by NBCUniversal’s NBC Sports Group division. It was initially introduced as the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) on July 1, 1995, and was mainly devoted to broadcasting, including fishing, hiking, outdoor adventure programs, and outdoor sports. OLN is best known for its detailed documentation of the Tour at the turn of the 21st century.
On July 1, 1995, the channel was initially launched as the Outdoor Life Network (or OLN); the name was adopted from Outdoor Life. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor experience shows became part of its programming. The channel hit about one million homes in its early days and found much of its transport via the then-infant media of direct satellite transmission and optical cable networks.
The 66th most successful TV network and the 36th most prominent is NBC Sports Network. Fans define NBC Sports Network as: Perfect for sports coverage, Ahead of the Curve, and Insightful. According to Variety, NBCSN was the second-most-watched games channel in 2019 and 2020. However, its figures were more similar than the most famous sports station, ESPN, to third-ranked Fox Sports 1 and fourth-ranked ESPN2. NBC Sports became the exclusive World Series broadcaster starting in 1950, which would endure 26 straight years. In 1980, NBC was mired in third place in the ratings, but sports remained a precious TV asset. Compared to the typically large crowd viewing the Super Bowl, NBC’s 1978 and 1980 World Series broadcasts received a rating of 32.8.
In 1991, in a $38 million transaction, NBC acquired the rights to Notre Dame home games, the first time an actual college football team had its television contract.
NBC is the 23rd highly influential and the 13th most popular TV network.
What leads to its shutting down and its impact?
Sports Business Journal reported on Friday that NBC had told leagues and distributors that it plans to close down the NBCSN sports channel before the end of this year. NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua wrote in an email to the company, “We’re all aware of how quickly the media landscape is evolving, and our Company is taking thoughtful steps to stay ahead of these trends wherever possible and, in many instances, help set them.”
Impact on NASCAR
What does this mean for motorsports, and specifically, what does this mean for NASCAR?
Ever since 2015, when NBC jumped back into the fold and began broadcasting roughly the second half of the NASCAR season, many of its fans have become used to watching races on NBCSN. If focusing on the short-term implication, this has for NASCAR primarily. Now NASCAR’s current TV contracts with NBC and fox do not expire until after the 2024 season. As for the 2021 schedule, it would show 12 of the 20 NBC races on NBCSN. Presumably, some if not all of those 12 races will move to the USA network. At first, these changes might negatively affect viewership because millions of fans have conditioned themselves to tune in to NBCSN, and they might even lose their viewers.
Impact on NHL
The primary question is how to respond to a network’s shutdown that has held its games for the past 15 years by an NHL league. After this season, the NHL’s contract with NBC expires. The NHL has made it precise that it needs to share its rights between at least two TV networks. NBC told the NHL that it would carve out daily windows on its television channel and USA Network.
NBC’s decision has significant consequences for the NHL, whose games play mainly on NBCSN and whose new network contract ends after this season. Sports Business Journal announced that NBC told the NHL that it would screen the games on its own USA Network, in more households than NBCSN. The number has more than 90 million 80 million households when MBCSN is in about 70 million households. So, the USA network will have more people watching the NHL.
In April 2020, NBC unveiled Peacock and charged $5 a month for its medium coverage tier that contains some EPL sports. After NBC had previously delivered a bundle of games online through their NBC Sports Gold channels, EPL games became Peacock’s anchor sports content.
In recent months, the move was speculated, partly to merge cable networks. On Peacock, its latest subscription channel, NBC has recently begun showcasing EPL sports. Peacock was the home of the game between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday, a contest for first place that was undoubtedly the biggest Peacock game to occur so far. With NBCSN being shuttered, Peacock will also definitely act as a home for NASCAR.
NBC’s new NHL, NASCAR, and Premier League agreements are all reported to terminate in the next two years. In this situation, NBCSN is dumping an underperforming network and improving a stronger asset in the USA.