NBC Sports Network is headed to that big channel lineup in the sky. NBC has told satellite and cable companies as well as sports leagues that the cable network will go dark by the end of 2021 according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
NBC does have plans for all of its play-by-play partners. NASCAR, the NHL, and the English Premier League will all see games shift to NBC and USA Network. The EPL will also see more games go to the over-the-top streaming service Peacock. According to Ourand, NBC has told the NHL that if their relationship continues, some of that league’s content will go to Peacock as well.
This is a clear sign that Peacock is the future of NBC Sports. The service already is home to shows like Pro Football Talk and The Dan Patrick Show, both of which used to air on NBCSN.
It should also be pointed out that viewers were tuning into the network. It has been the second most-watched cable sports network in America for two of the last three years behind only ESPN.
The timing of the shut down isn’t just about Peacock. NBC’s carriage deals for NBCSN with some major TV providers are set to expire at the end of the year. The network will also see play-by-play contracts with the NHL, EPL, and NASCAR expire in each of the next three years.
NBC Expects Most Profitable Olympics Ever
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at a virtual Credit Suisse Investor Conference he believes the 2021 Olympics will be a hugely profitable.
Concerns loom for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo regarding the surge in Covid cases in Japan, as well as how the lack of international fans will impact the atmosphere of the events. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell seemed to share no such concerns when he said at a virtual Credit Suisse Investor Conference he believes the 2021 Olympics could fetch the biggest return yet.
“I think, depending on how ratings are, it could be our most profitable Olympics in the history of the company,” he said. “If you want reach, there’s nothing better than the Olympics. You have 17 days where you dominate every night.”
NBC is fresh off its most profitable olympics when it earned $250 million from the 2016 Rio Games. Some familiar advertisers such as McDonalds will not make an appearance on the NBC airwaves during the games, though others such as Proctor and Gamble will figure prominently. The company previously reported a record $1.25 billion in commitments for the games early last year.
NBC Adds Vince Carter, Candace Parker For Olympic Basketball
NBC has added Vince Carter, Kara Lawson, and Candace Parker as analysts to its Olympic basketball coverage.
NBC Sports Group announced on Tuesday it has added Olympic Gold Medalists Vince Carter, Kara Lawson, and Candace Parker as basketball analysts for the Olympic Games beginning next month.
“We are excited to have this distinguished trio of U.S. Olympic basketball stars join our commentary team in Tokyo. Vince, Kara and Candace will bring viewers their unique perspectives on what’s happening on the court while also telling the stories about what it takes to make it to the medal stand – from tryouts, to practices and qualifying, to medal-round play,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer of NBC Olympics production.
Lawson won her Gold at the 2008 Games, leading the team with 15 points in the final game. Parker was also on the 2008 team, and won a second Gold in 2012 when she also led the team in scoring with 21 points in the last match. Carter retired from the NBA after last season, and won a Gold back in 2000 when he just about created a foreign conflict with a dunk heard around the world
The interesting media angle here is that both Carter and Parker have prominent roles covering the NBA for other networks. Vince Carter signed with ESPN immediately after retiring following the 2019-2020 season. He can be seen on a variety of studio programs and also as a game analyst for both the NBA and ACC basketball. Parker is part of TNT’s studio crew for Tuesday night NBA games. She stole the spotlight from co-stars Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade a number of times this season for her outspokenness and willingness to challenge them on how she viewed players and situations.
Lawson has a broadcasting background herself. She has served as both a studio and game analyst for ESPN as well as local broadcasts of the Kings and Wizards. She was named the head coach of the women’s team at Duke University before the 2020-21 season.
Lee Fitting Worried ESPN Is Too Focused On College Football Playoff
National conversation around college football has been dominated by the Playoff.
The College Football Playoff has been dominating the news this week and seemingly every week, for that matter, during college football season.
The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach noticed the dominant space talking about the Playoff takes over in the national conversation and wanted to find out how to fix it. She spoke with experts from around the industry to see if there is room for the little guy to get some more love from the college football media.
One person who knows this topic like the back of their hand is ESPN senior vice president of production Lee Fitting.
“It’s time to take a little reset as far as we’re concerned,” Fitting said to Auerbach in the piece. “Obviously, the Playoff needs to remain a priority A) for the sport and B) for business. But at the same time, I’m worried that we’ve gone a little too far away from what makes college football great — and that is that there is something in every game for the fans out there. It’s not just the top four, five, six, or seven teams who are playing for something.”
It’s a tough task to juggle for Fitting and College Gameday host Rece Davis, who knows above all things the Playoff is what drives revenue and interest from a national audience.
“GameDay has as big an umbrella over the sport as humanly possible,” Davis said. “But if you try to do all that and ignore the monster that is the Playoff, you are not servicing the largest number of your viewers because, for better or worse at this moment in time in the sport, everything is viewed to a degree through the lens of how it impacts the Playoff picture. I don’t think we have to be exclusively in that vein, but we have to accept it.”
The perpetual cycle of just a few teams getting a shot at glory will end if the College Football Playoff committee welcomes a 12-team field. Until then, fans of the MAC and AAC can only hope for a New Year’s Six berth. Check out all the conversations Auerbach had on the topic right here.
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