According to a report by sportsbusinessdaily.com, NBC has told its distributors and some sports leagues it plans to shut down the NBC Sports Network at the end of 2021.
The report notes that NBC’s most recent affiliate deals with Charter and Dish Network do not include carriage for NBCSN beyond 2021. NBC has carried the NHL for the past 15 years.
NHL, NASCAR, soccer and other sports programming will move to the USA Network. The NHL’s television contract with NBCUniversal expires at the end of this season. However, if NBCU keeps the NHL, it will most likely move to the USA Network.
If NBCU keeps the broadcast rights to the NHL, it is being said that there is a good chance that WWE NXT would have to moved from Wednesday night’s as the NHL has higher ad rates than NXT.
This move by NBC is currently in line with trend of consolidating cable channels. However, for NBC, this is said to be part of a bigger strategy to grow its Peacock streaming service, while, at the same time, strengthening programming for the USA Network.
Also according to the same report, sources have said that NBC’s other sports channels, the Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel will not be affected. NBC announced recently that its Peacock streaming service will carry speed skating on a premium tier.
NBSCN was previously known as the Outdoor Life Channel when it launched in 1995. In 2006, it was then changed to Versus. After Comcast purchased NBCUniversal in 2011, they changed the name to the NBC Sports Network. The channel currently is in 80.6 million homes.