Less than a year after packing up its NBCSN, NBC Sports is apparently calling it quits with yet another sports channel, with plans to shut down The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, on September 30.
News of the shutdown was first reported by The Sports Business Journal, which said Friday that the network has begun informing cable and satellite TV distributors of its plans.
“In order to best reach our target audiences, we are re-evaluating our programming distribution strategy regarding the content that currently airs on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA with our partners at the IOC and USOPC,” an NBC spokesperson said in an email message. “We will be announcing our exciting new plans for Olympic content in the fall.”
The channel launched in July 2017 in 35 million homes with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee as minority partners. It first aired live Olympic matches (tennis and wrestling) during the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games. The channel is currently in about 47 million households and lately, it has offered mostly old Olympic contests and shows from other channels.
NBC has long been the exclusive U.S. home of the Olympic Games and in 2014 secured rights for the games through 2032.
As cord-cutting has decimated traditional TV over the years, NBC has rethought its position regarding sports networks. It shut down NBCSN on December 31, 2021, shifting that programming to its linear USA Network and Peacock streaming service.
While NBC hasn't officially said where the Olympic Channel's programming will end up, it is believed it could find a home on Peacock and its other linear channels. ▪️
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.