NBCU Buys Universal Sports Rights

Less than a month after deciding to shutter the Universal Sports Network, NBCUniversal said it has purchased, effective immediately, USN assets from World Championship Sports Network.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal includes exclusive media rights formerly held by Universal Sports, including agreements with international and national governing bodies for Olympic-sport events in swimming, track and field, gymnastics, figure skating, skiing, cycling, triathlon and volleyball. Those rights will now be part of the NBC Sports Group portfolio.

NBC Sports Group will utilize NBCU’s family of networks, including NBCSN and Universal HD, to televise events. NBC Sports Live Extra -- NBC Sports’ live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs -- will live stream events, including some digital-only programming. Universal Sports Network will cease operations today.

“Acquiring these valuable media rights builds on our long-term investment in the Olympic Games through 2032, and reaffirms our commitment to Olympic sports and the stories of the great athletes who compete in them,” said NBC Olympics, president Gary Zenkel in a statement. “We now have a great opportunity to engage with the Olympic-sport audience year round and inspire the next generation of Olympic fans, which is a critical part of our ongoing Olympic strategy.”

Upcoming major events that NBC Sports will televise and stream include: the FIS Alpine World Cup season; the USA Swimming Arena Pro Swim Series; the IAAF World Indoor Championships; and the 2016 Boston Marathon.

NBCU announced in October that it would shutter Universal Sports Network on Nov. 16. At the time the programmer said that certain rights would go to its NBC Sports Network.