CBS Sports's college sports network is about to drop a class with an eye perhaps toward broadening its athletics curriculum.
Effective April 4, CBS College Sports Network, which counts some 40 million subscribers, will become CBS Sports Network. While the channel will continue to focus on college sports, the rebranding will allow for the service to expand its content base down the road, according to CBS executives.
As part of the rebrand, CBS Sports Network -- whose predecessor covers over 15 men's and women's college sports with over 250 live events each season, plus an array of attendant studio and original fare -- will more closely align and expand Black Rock's portfolio of assets, including CBS Sports, Showtime Sports, CBSSports.com and MaxPreps.com.
"The rebranding of CBS College Sports Network to CBS Sports Network is an important step in the evolution of CBS Sports, allowing us to create more programming opportunities and expand our viewer base," said Sean McManus, who was recently named chairman, CBS Sports, in announcing the new moniker. "We are excited about extending the CBS Sports brand as we position CBS Sports Network as a destination for all sports fans."
The name change is the second in three years for the service. CBS Corp. acquired CSTV in January 2006, before integrating it into CBS Sports early in 2008 and then rebranding it CBS College Sports Network that February.
"The change today is about better aligning the value and success of the varied corporate assets of CBS Sports," said David Berson, executive vice president, CBS Sports and president, CBS Sports Networks, in an interview. "It could open the door to the expansion of content down the road."
He would not discuss any changes in programming plans -- at this juncture.
"We have a nice business going here with college sports; we're happy with that," said Berson, who joined CBS at the start of the new year. "And there is a strong relationship with CBS Sports. We're looking to pave the way to enhance that further."
Berson also noted that the name change would come in one fell swoop on April 4, the night the Men's Division basketball champion will be crowned at Houston's Reliant Stadium, with CBS providing the coverage. "We'll go through the college basketball season," he said. "Viewers will see the change on-air that day."
Although CBS College Sports is not part of the official March Madness tournament coverage under the 14-year, $10.8 billion deal that CBS and Turner Sports reached with the NCAA, Berson said the service will be in the game.
"As a network covering college sports, the tournament is obviously a huge event. There will be extensive studio coverage around March Madness," he said.
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