NBC has told its television distributors that they will be shutting down NBCSN by the end of 2021. They will be moving some of their programs to the USA Network and their new streaming app Peacock. This was first reported by the Sports Business Journal.
NBC has told distributors and some sports leagues that it plans to shut down its NBCSN sports channel by the end of the year. Story coming in SBD
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 22, 2021
NBC To Shut Down NBCSN
In the current climate where big media corporations are trying to consolidate cable channels and switch to streaming services, this move should not shock those in the industry. Ever since NBC launched their new streaming service Peacock in August of 2020, NBC has been shifting more programming over there. Not only does NBC want to bolster their streaming service, but they also want to help out other channels like the USA Network. As we saw during in recent years, the NHL has utilized the channels of NBC to broadcast the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not only will NBC move the NHL, but NASCAR, EPL, Atlantic-10 basketball, while keeping some windows open on the big network to broadcast games. While other small properties will shift to Peacock or other TV outlets.
Originally branded Outdoor Life Network (OLN), this channel has gone through several variations. From there the channel became Versus before being renamed NBCSN after Comcast bought NBC.
What Does This Mean For the NHL’s Future
Well one, the NHL is in the final year of its 10-year contract with NBC. The network has carried NHL programming for almost 15 years now. The NHL has made it known they want a better TV deal. This is why they had to find other ways to make revenue this season. Out of the four major sports networks, their TV is the worst. They would like to have it split between two major TV outlets. It is fair to say that NHL and NBC have had a good working relationship. Having games on NBC and USA Network plus Peacock will help the game.
However, there are other networks looking to get the television rights from ESPN to FOX. Especially FOX as they are looking to put programming on their other station FS1 as they only have MLB and College Football at this point. One thing is for sure the NHL is looking for NBA type money when it comes to their next TV deal. Plus the rights to the streaming are up to. So if one had to guess there could be up to two to three networks involved carrying the NHL next season. And NBC just might be one of them.
Legacy Of NBCSN
The NHL and NBCSN have a long history. Considering nobody wanted to pick up the game after the 2004-05 lockout, OLN /NBC gave the NHL a steady home. You knew where to find the game during the week on weekends. While the channel might have been weird it helped the game so much. But with more people cutting cable, the channel had to go as streaming is the way of the future.
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