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NBC Sports

NBC Sports
Network NBC
Division of NBC
Country of origin United States
Key people Mark Lazarus (chairman, NBC Sports Group)
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut
Major broadcasting contracts NFL
Notre Dame Football
PGA Tour
IndyCar Series
Triple Crown
Tour de France
Barclays Premier League
Owner Comcast
Official website

NBC Sports is the programming division of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), owned by the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal, that is responsible for sports broadcasts on the network, and its dedicated national sports cable channels. Formerly operating as "a service of NBC News," it broadcasts a diverse array of sports events, including the Olympic Games, the NFL, NASCAR, the NHL, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the IndyCar Series, the Premier League and the Triple Crown, among others. Other programming from outside producers – such as coverage of the Ironman Triathlon – is also presented on the network through NBC Sports. With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal, its own cable sports networks were aligned with NBC Sports into a part of the division known as the NBC Sports Group.


Early years

Main article: History of NBC Sports


In 2000, NBC declined to renew its broadcast agreement with Major League Baseball. In 2002, it was additionally outbid by ESPN and ABC for the NBA's new broadcast contract, ending the league's twelve-year run on NBC.

During this era, NBC experimented with broadcasting emerging sports. In 2001, the network partnered with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to establish the XFL – a new football league which introduced modified rules and debuted to tremendous, but short-lived fanfare, only lasting one season (NBC shared broadcast rights to the league's games, which were mainly held on Saturday nights, with UPN). In 2003, NBC obtained the broadcast rights and a minority interest in the Arena Football League. The network televised weekly games on a regional basis, as well as the entire playoffs. The deal lasted four years, after which the league and NBC parted ways.

Beginning with the 1999 Pennzoil 400, NBC began its foray into NASCAR. NBC, along with Fox, FX and TNT, obtained the broadcast rights of the top two series – the Winston Cup and Busch Series – in a six-year deal, beginning in 2001. NBC televised the second half of the season and alternated coverage of the Daytona 500 with Fox. In December 2005, NBC announced that it would not renew its agreement with NASCAR. In 2001, NBC obtained the broadcast rights to horse racing's Triple Crown in a five-year deal.

In 2004, NBC reached a broadcast agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL). The revenue-sharing deal called for the two sides to split advertising revenue after the network recouped the expenses. Games were supposed to begin airing on the network during the 2004-05 season, however a league lockout that resulted in the cancellation of that season delayed the start of the contract until the second half of the 2005-06 season. NBC televised regular season games at first on Saturday afternoons before moving the telecast to Sundays, Saturday and Sunday afternoon playoff games, and up to five games of the Stanley Cup Final. Additionally in 2008, NBC broadcast the first Winter Classic, an outdoor NHL game played on New Year's Day at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a success in attendance and television ratings. The following year's Winter Classic would become the most-watched regular season game in 34 years.[1] In addition to this regular season success, Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final was watched by an average of 8 million viewers, the highest ratings for an NHL game in 36 years.[2]

The NFL also returned to NBC in 2006 after an eight-year hiatus, broadcasting the league's new flagship Sunday Night Football game, along with select postseason games and Super Bowls XLIII, XLVI, XLIX and LII.


Comcast merger, NBCSN, and move to Connecticut (2011–present)

Main article: NBCSN

In January 2011, Comcast finalized its acquisition of a majority share in NBC Universal. As a result of the merger, the operations of Comcast's existing sports networks, such as Golf Channel and Versus, were merged into an entity known as the NBC Sports Group. NBC Sports' senior vice president Mike McCarley additionally became Golf Channel's new head.[3] NBC Sports' golf production unit was merged with Golf Channel, along with NBC's on-air staff, with that unit rebranding under the banner "Golf Channel on NBC".[4]

The merger also helped influence an extension of NBC Sports' contract with the NHL; the 10-year deal – valued at close to $2 billion – covered rights for both NBC and Versus, introduced a new primetime "Black Friday" game, and national coverage for every game in the Stanley Cup playoffs.[5] On July 3, 2011, ESPN obtained the exclusive broadcast rights to Wimbledon in a 12-year deal, ending NBC's television relationship with The Championships after 42 years.[6]

On August 10, 2011, NBC Sports also announced a new three-year broadcasting contract with Major League Soccer to produce games for the 2012 season on NBC and the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). This included the broadcast of two regular season games, two playoff games, and two national team matches on NBC and 38 regular season games, three playoff games, and two national team matches on the NBC Sports Network.[7] On October 28, 2012, NBC Sports also announced a three-year, $250 million deal to televise Premier League soccer in English (primarily on NBCSN) and Spanish (on Telemundo and mun2) beginning with the 2013–14 season, replacing ESPN and Fox Soccer as the league's U.S. broadcasters.[8]

On October 15, 2012, NBC Sports announced that it had acquired broadcast rights to the Formula One World Championship (formerly held by Speed and Fox Sports) in a four-year deal with the series. The majority of its coverage (including much of the season, along with qualifying and practice sessions) would air on NBCSN, while NBC would air the Monaco Grand Prix, Canadian Grand Prix and the final two races of the season, which include the United States Grand Prix. All races will also be streamed online and through the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app.[9][10][11]

On February 12, 2013, Comcast purchase the remaining 49% interest in NBCUniversal from General Electric for $16.7 billion, giving the cable provider full ownership of the film and television conglomerate. On March 18, 2013, nearly all of the operations for NBC Sports and NBCSN began to be based out of a purpose-built facility in Stamford, Connecticut, a move mainly made to take advantage of tax credits given by the state of Connecticut which NBC has taken advantage of previously with the daytime talk shows of its sister broadcast syndication division.[12] Only Football Night in America remained in New York City, at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, until September 7, 2014, when production of that program also moved to Stamford.

In July 2013, NASCAR announced that NBC Sports had reached a deal televise the final 20 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 19 races of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and various regional series season as part of a new 10-year deal starting in 2015. While some races will be aired by NBC, the majority of its coverage will be broadcast by NBCSN. The deal will bring NASCAR racing back to NBC for the first time since 2006, when broadcast rights to the second half of the season were taken over by TNT and ESPN. While no specific financial details were disclosed, NBC reportedly paid 50% more than ESPN and TNT combined under the previous deal. NASCAR then gave NBC an additional bonus by allowing ancillary programming (NASCAR America) on NBCSN and coverage of the Mexican championship starting in 2014.[13][14]

In May 2015, NBCUniversal announced the formation of NBC Deportes, which will serve as a Spanish-language branch of NBC Sports for Telemundo and NBC Universo.[15]


Main article: Olympics on NBC

In 1964, NBC televised the Summer Olympics in Tokyo; in 1972, NBC televised the Winter Olympic Games for the first time. 1980 would prove to be a stinging disappointment for the network; after contentious negotiations, NBC won the broadcast rights to the Summer Games in Moscow. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States and 64 other countries boycotted the event. NBC substantially scaled back its coverage and lost heavily in advertising revenue. In 1988, NBC televised the Summer Olympics in Seoul. Since then, it has branded itself as "America’s Olympic Network," televising every Summer Olympic Games since the Seoul event, as well as having televised every Winter Olympics since 2002. In total, NBC has aired 13 Summer and Winter Olympics, the most by any one U.S. network; the Olympic Games have also become an integral part of the network, despite some recurring controversy over its method of tape delaying events in part to take advantage of a wider national audience in prime time. In 1998, Ebersol was named president of NBC Sports and Olympics. The 2010 Games in Vancouver were watched by a total of 190 million viewers,[16] including 27.6 million viewers of the Gold Medal Game in men’s hockey.[17]

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, over 500 hours of the games were broadcast across five NBC-owned television channels (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network) with 1,000 hours being streamed digitally.[18] In January, the company announced some exclusive digital-only streaming of the 2014 Olympics via the website and the NBC Sports Live Extra app for Android and iOS, including exclusive content such as Gold Zone, Olympic Ice and NBC's Olympic News Desk.[19]

NBC Sports Championship Season

In 2008, NBC Sports launched what was known as the "Championship Season," a run of major sports event programming in the late spring and early summer. The original Championship Season concept ran from 2008 to 2011, and incorporated a bumper featuring the David Cook song "Heroes", which was played before each telecast. The original 2008-11 Championship Season concept featured the following events (promoted in the Cook video using chronological order, playing on the "season" concept): The Kentucky Derby, The Players Championship, the Preakness Stakes, Roland Garros, the Stanley Cup Final, the U.S. Open Golf Championship and The Championships, Wimbledon. NBC later gained rights to the Belmont Stakes in 2011 (inserted before Garros in the bumper seqeunce). Notably, only telecasts of these events were considered part of the Championship Season, other NBC Sports telecasts during the May–July period did not contain this branding.

In 2012, with the reorganization of NBC Sports as a whole, the Championship Season was also reorganized. The Cook promo was dropped in favor of a simple narrated video set to dramatic music. The bumper was used as a promo, and a new standard NBC Sports bumper played at the beginning of all events, including those during the Championship Season. Virtually all NBC Sports-produced programming that airs on the NBC network itself in May and June is now considered part of the restructured Championship Season. With the relaunch of Versus into NBCSN, feeder programming for Championship Season events began to appear on that network, which were also considered part of the revamped Championship Season. Programs that only aired on NBCSN or Golf Channel were not considered part of the Championship Season. This new concept is more loosely organized than the 2008-11 version and is fluid as NBC's rights to events change, being used more as an early summer umbrella title instead of a series of events as was the purpose of the 2008-11 concept.



NBC Sports first switched to digital on-screen graphics in 1995, although in a very limited, text-based form. In 1999, NBC rolled out its first modernized graphics package, consisting of translucent black rectangles with 3D gold bars on the top and bottom fringes, with blue accents for most sports (green for golf, purple for Wimbledon and orange for French Open tennis). Interestingly, scoreboxes were still not a permanent feature of the network's sports presentation, disappearing during plays. In 2002, the graphics were modified to feature rounded edges, and the translucent color was changed from black to the color of the accents, which also replaced gold as the border color. The graphics were still absent any animation while the scoreboxes still were not permanent until 2005, when college football and hockey finally adopted horizontal scorebars, which did not match the other graphics.


With the acquisition of Sunday Night Football in 2006, NBC launched a new look for its sports broadcasts, primarily designed by Troika Design Group. Graphics for most major events featured a predominantly dark and metallic look with an increased use of animation, while most other sports telecasts utilized a separate design with grey and yellow graphics. For Super Bowl XLIII, a refreshed version of the package was introduced, featuring a more vibrant and streamlined appearance.

Beginning in September 2011, the newly acquired Versus began to use these graphics in preparation for its relaunch as the NBC Sports Network in 2012, and began to adopt the new 2012 design for hockey games near the end of December.


Concurrent with the relaunch of Versus as the NBC Sports Network on January 2, 2012, NBC Sports also launched a comprehensive redesign of its on-air appearance, including a new graphics design built around the NBC peacock, and an updated logo for the division as a whole (replacing a logo that had been in use since 1989). The new design was also intended to be modular, allowing it to be expanded for use in larger events across multiple networks (such as the Super Bowl or the Olympic Games). Breaking with its tradition of creating a full, dedicated graphics package for each Games, NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics used a variation of the standard NBC Sports design instead.[20]

The new on-screen graphic design, again designed by Troika, predominantly used a crystallized look with graphics either using a dark steel-blue color scheme or a team's colors, accented with brightly colored particles. Most lower-thirds utilize a horizontal "pane" layout. Scoreboards also incorporate an NBC peacock animation when a team scores. While most sports telecasts now utilize a scoreboard appearing in the top-center of the screen without any shading, football games aired by the network still utilize a similar layout to the previous NBC package.

Reflecting the reorganization, Comcast SportsNet began phasing in a graphics package based off the new NBC Sports design in late-2012, and introduced a modified logo incorporating the NBC peacock.[21]


A refreshed graphics design was introduced in January 2015, featuring a brighter, metallic aesthetic with an increased use of fluid transitions and a more subtle glossed appearance. For football telecasts, the scoreboard is no longer docked to a shaded area, and the NBC peacock is displayed within the scoreboard itself, and can react to certain in-game events (such as turning yellow on penalties).[22]

NBC Sports also continued to take full advantage of high-definition television, as the placement of the score banner on the left – first seen on Premier League games with the previous graphics – was then adopted into the networks' coverage of the NHL and college hockey. The peacock logo, or in NBCSN's case, the variation of the peacock with the NBCSN name, is also placed permanently on the top right of the screen.

The new graphics were later adopted by Comcast SportsNet, in time for the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. Variations of the new NBC Sports graphics on CSN are expected to be adopted in other sports later this year.

Programs throughout the years

Current programs

Former programs

File:NBC Sports logo 1989-2011.svg
Former logo for NBC Sports, used from 1989 to 2011.

Notable personalities

Bob Costas, NBC Sports' primary studio and Olympics host
NHL on NBC lead play-by-play announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick





Studio hosts

Studio analysts





Studio hosts

Telemundo personalities

Presidents and chairmen

NBC Sports Group

NBC Sports Group
Industry Television
Predecessor Comcast Sports Group
Founded 2011
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Key people
Mark Lazarus (chairman)

NBC Sports Group is a division of NBCUniversal that is responsible for NBC Sports' media properties, encompassing the NBC television network's sports division as well as day-to-day operation of the company's sports-oriented cable networks and other properties such as NBC Sports Radio. Mark Lazarus, formerly the head of Turner Entertainment Group, serves as the head of the NBC Sports Group cable networks.[29]

The unit was formed when Comcast transferred the operations of the properties in its existing Comcast Sports Group unit – which included the regional sports network chain Comcast SportsNet, Versus and Golf Channel, after the company's acquisition of a majority share in NBCUniversal in February 2011.[30][31] Plans originally called for the Comcast SportsNet channels to be rebranded under the NBC Sports banner as well, however these plans have since been shelved. However, the networks would adopt some graphical elements from the new NBC Sports design.[32]


See also

Main competitors


  1. ^ "‘Winter Classic" Most Viewed Regular Season NHL Game in 34 Years,’". TV by the Numbers. January 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Game 7 most watched in 36 years". National Hockey League. 
  3. ^ Mike Reynolds. "McCarley To Head Golf Channel, Davis Out at Versus in NBC Sports Group Reorg: Sources". Multichannel News. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  4. ^ Jim Williams (February 2011). "Jim Williams: Gold coverage has new look". The Washington Examiner. 
  5. ^ "NHL reaches new television deal to remain on NBC, Versus". CNNSI (Time Warner). Associated Press. April 19, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ "ESPN acquires exclusive Wimbledon rights". ESPN. July 5, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ "MLS and NBC Sports announce new TV deal". The New York Times (Goal Blogs) (The New York Times Company). August 10, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ "NBC wins $250m rights to broadcast English Premier League in US". The Guardian (London). Associated Press. October 29, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  9. ^ Jenna Fryer (October 14, 2012). "NBC Sports Group gets US rights to Formula One". The Huffington Post (AOL). Associated Press. 
  10. ^ "SPEED coverage of Formula One comes to an end in 2012". Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Formula 1 lands four-year deal with NBC". Racer. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ Michael Heistand (March 13, 2013). "NBC to air MLS marathon in new digs". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "NBC wins NASCAR TV rights, signs 10-year deal to replace ESPN, Turner". The Sporting News. July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ "NASCAR AND NBC SPORTS GROUP REACH LANDMARK MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENT". NBC Sports Group Press Box. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Upfronts 2015: NBC Deportes Ramps Up". Multichannel News. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "NBC's Final Medal Count: 190 Million Olympic Viewers". Multichannel News. March 1, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Olympic Hockey Gold Medal Game Viewed by Most in U.S. Since ’80". Business Week. March 1, 2010. 
  18. ^ "NBC to provide unprecedented coverage of 2014 Winter Sochi Olympics". Comcast Corporate. December 20, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "NBC to stream exclusive Winter Olympics digital programming". HD Report. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ "NBC Sports Network Off and Running With New Graphics Package". SportsVideoGroup. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  21. ^ John Ourand. "SBJ: Exit Versus, enter the NBC Sports Network". The Sporting News. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Everybody was excited about NBC's updated football graphics last weekend". The AV Club. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  23. ^ NBC did not provide live event coverage due to the US-led boycott.
  24. ^ Les Brown (July 19, 1979). "CBS Alumni Reunite at NBC's Top". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  25. ^ Jack Craig (June 30, 1991). "Watson got results, not publicity". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Former Chairman of NBC Sports Group Dick Ebersol, USOC CMO Lisa Baird to be Honored at 2012 PromaxBDA Sports Marketing Summit & Awards". Yahoo! (Press release). October 17, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  27. ^ "PLUS: TELEVISION SPORTS; New President Named at NBC". The New York Times. June 19, 1998. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  28. ^ Nellie Andreeva. "Post-Merger NBC Sports Group Unveils Executive Team". Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ Joshua L. Weinstein (February 2, 2011). "Mark Lazarus to Head NBC Sports Group's Executive Team". The Wrap. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  30. ^ David Goetzl (May 4, 2011). "NBC Sports Brand Going Local". MediaPost Publications. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  31. ^ Wayne Friedman (May 9, 2011). "NBC Steps Up Branding For Comcast Sports Nets". MediaPost Publications. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  32. ^ John Ourand. "SBJ: Exit Versus, enter the NBC Sports Network". The Sporting News. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 

External links