NBCSN to cease operations at end of 2021, move content to USA Network
NBC Sports Group will terminate its cable sports network, NBCSN, on Dec. 31, 2021, just months shy of the 2022 Winter Olympics and ahead of a busy stretch of Premier League games.
Most content exclusive to the sports network will shift to USA Network, NBC Sports has announced, which has become a catch-all of sorts for NBCUniversal. The network, which use to welcome characters with distinct original programming now airs a bit of everything including wrestling, movies and a few originals like “Chrisley Knows Best.”
In total, USA Network will air 1,500 hours of sports programming that was formerly part of NBCSN, Sports Business Journal notes.
This includes properties such as auto racing (NASCAR, IndyCar and SportsCar) along with college basketball, horse racing, Olympics and the Premier League.
“USA has always been home to big, iconic characters—on reality shows like Chrisley Knows Best, premium scripted dramas like Chucky and The Sinner, and of course the high-octane energy of our WWE personalities—and larger-than-life pro athletes will fit right in,” said Frances Berwick, entertainment networks, NBCUniversal television and streaming. “We expect this expansion of our live sports offering will both engage existing fans and bring in new communities to USA, further cementing the network as a top destination for the best and broadest entertainment in all of its many forms.”
On Jan. 1, 2022, for example, the Premier League will feature a tripleheader on its new home.
Additional NBCSN programming will move to CNBC, E! and Peacock, blurring the lines between cable channels brands and missions. At this point, however, it’s more about stemming the tide of cord-cutting and the move to streaming platforms.
NBCSN began life as the Outdoor Life Network, later rebranded OLN. In 2006, parent Comcast opted to rebrand OLN with a larger sports focus under the Versus banner, having acquired NHL broadcast rights in 2005.
Following the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal in 2011, the channel was rebranded in April 2011, yet again, as NBC Sports Network. The shortened channel moniker, NBCSN, then took hold in mid-2013 after having been used unofficially in TV listings as an abbreviation.
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