NBCUniversal to increase Peacock sports focus as broadcaster confirms NBC Sports Network shutdown

NBCUniversal will cease operating its dedicated sports network at the end of the year.

NBC Sports Network will shut up shop, sports group chairman Pete Bevacqua has told staff in an internal memo.

The broadcaster however isn’t moving away from sports, instead looking to spread its rights across its cable network channel USA and streaming service Peacock. 

He wrote: “At the conclusion of 2021, we have decided that the best strategic next step for our sports group and the entire company is to wind down NBCSN completely, with key elements of NBCSN’s programming moving to USA Network and, in some cases, Peacock for 2022 and beyond. This will make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost.”

USA Network will play host to the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoff games along with Nascar and the English Premier League – which also sees more than 175 games per season streamed exclusively on Peacock.

The move comes at a time when a number of NBC’s major sports rights deals are coming to a close. The NHL deal expires at the end of the season, and the league plans to split its domestic rights deal between at least two broadcasters. The English Premier League deal will end next season, though NBCU is reportedly in talks to increase its coverage of the league. 

A separate report from Sports Business Journal said that NBCU-owned Golf Channel and Olympic Channel will not be affected while smaller events such as car shows and dog competitions will be farmed out to other channels.

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