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NBCU Plans to Shut Down NBCSN Cable Sports Net

NBCSN NHL Hockey
NHL playoff games will be simulcast on USA Network this year

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit said it is planning to shut down its cable sports network, NBCSN, by the end of 2021.

The move is further evidence that media companies are shifting from their profitable but declining cable networks to the hot streaming category.

In a memo, NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua said sports programming including NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games and NASCAR races will be simulcast this year on USA Network as part of a “transition.”

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At the end of the year, key elements of NBCSN’s programming will move to USA and, in some cases, Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service.

“We’re all aware of how quickly the media landscape is evolving, and our Company is taking thoughtful steps to stay ahead of these trends wherever possible and, in many instances, help set them," Bevacqua said in his memo.

He said the move of sports to USA will “make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost. We believe that the power of this offering is the best long-term strategy for our Sports Group, our partners, and our company.” The plans about NBCSN were first reported by Sports Business Journal.

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To some degree, that means that rather than trying to compete against ESPN and Fox Sports One with NBCSN, NBC has decided to copy what AT&T’s TNT has, with a combination of entertainment programming and sports.

Bevacqua aimed to reassure staffers that NBCU remains committed to live sports programming. He noted that Golf Channel moved to Stamford and that NBC Sports is producing multiple programs for Peacock. It is also doing more with Telemundo and Sky Sports, he added.

“This transition, combined with our robust portfolio of assets, including Golf Channel, The Olympic Channel, RSNs, SportsEngine, GolfNow, digital, audio, sports betting and gaming, puts us in an even stronger position as leaders in the sports media space and to continue to grow our business,” he said.