NBC’s parent company, NBCUniversal, announced today that they would be shutting down the NBC Sports Network, or NBCSN channel by the end of the year, according to a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
The reasoning given by the company is that, obviously, the age of streaming has kept cable under duress for quite some time, not having the Olympics hurt NBC badly this year, and while NBCSN has decidedly broadcast quality production, they’ve been getting reamed in ratings in comparison to ESPN/FOX, and so they plan to consolidate much of their programming on the channel onto either mainline NBC, to the USA Network, or to their streaming service Peacock, which they’ve been attempting to build up fast in this new world, in what they referred to as “Reverse Segmentation.”
Now I’m sure you’re sitting there going “Sky, this hasn’t mentioned hockey like...once so far. You’ve spent over a hundred words on corpo-speak I don’t care about. Where is this going?”, and my answer is...to the USA Network, back to their “roots”, if you will, where they used to be during the early to mid 80’s, and intermittently throughout the 2010s in one-offs.
Specifically, the NHL will be headed there increasingly over this year.
Now, there haven’t been any major schedule changes announced yet, but I wouldn’t be super surprised if one of the later games in the schedule start to find their way over to USA. NBC has talked this up to the league, saying that they’re getting into about 6 million more homes than NBCSN gets them into. Of course, this may also mean that NBC is trying to entice the league into staying on-board with the network, as their current deal ends in 2022. No word on how USA’s other big suspiciously inconsistently referee’d spectacle, the WWE, is handling this news.
In any case, if the league announces any Bruins games moving to the network of Roman Reigns and Olivia Benson, we will absolutely let you know if there are.