NBC, Universal Sports Pair On Grand Prix Skating Series

NBC Sports and Universal Sports will pair their coverage on the 2009 International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.

The telecasts emanate from a deal U.S. Figure Skating made with the ISU this summer. Under its pact with U.S. Figure Skating, NBC will broadcast 12 hours of live and same-weekend taped coverage of five Grand Prix events in France, Russia, Japan, the U.S. and Canada, as well as the finals. For its part, Universal Sports, which is available to more than 56 million homes, will broadcast more than 50 hours, including live and near-live showings, plus encores of the fare featured on NBC.

The agreement marks the first time since 2003 that coverage of nearly all the Grand Prix Series events, formerly the province of ABC, will appear on network television.

It's also the latest example of NBC and Universal Sports, a joint venture of NBCU and Leo Hindery's private equity firm InterMedia Partners, combining on coverage of Olympic-style sports. The partners presented AVP Beach Volleyball, the U.S. and World Swimming Championships and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. They will also work together in airing this week's World Gymnastics Championships.

The Grand Prix events will feature the reigning 2009 world champion, Evan Lysacek, while Sasha Cohen, looking to secure a spot on the U.S. team for the Vancouver Olympics in February, is slated to compete in the competitions in Paris next weekend and Skate America on Nov. 15. The Peacock will air the Grand Prix final on Dec. 6.

Moreover, NBC Sports will broadcast 10 hours of the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. Universal Sports will supply additional coverage and re-airs of the U.S. Championships.