NBC Sports Network to close down, WWE programming to be impacted?
NBC has confirmed that they will be shutting down their NBC Sports Network cable station and that could end up having a significant impact on WWE programming that airs on the USA Network.
NBC revealed to sports leagues and partners today that the NBC Sports Network will be shutting down by the end of 2021. Sports Business Journal reports that larger properties like the NHL, the EPL and NASCAR will likely move to the USA Network.
NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Hockey series moving to the USA Network could mean a change for the weekly WWE NXT show, which airs on Wednesday nights.
It was speculated by PWInsider that NASCAR’s Sunday programming moving to Monday night on the USA Network, due to weather delays, could impact the weekly WWE RAW show, but USA has been favorable to RAW in recent years when it comes to potential pre-emptions for various events such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and it seems unlikely that USA would push to move RAW now that they are paying a higher premium for WWE’s flagship show.
Deadline has revealed the full staff memo that was issued today by NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua. You can see the full internal memo below:
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.
As evidence of our strong commitment to live sports programming, we recently transitioned all of Golf Channel’s linear studio productions to Stamford, and we’re producing multiple new programs for Peacock and other platforms in Stamford as well. In addition, we’re doing more in partnership with our colleagues at Telemundo and Sky Sports.
Commencing later this year, USA Network will begin carrying and/or simulcasting certain NBC Sports programming, including NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games and NASCAR races, as part of a larger transition within the Company.
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. We believe that the power of this offering is the best long-term strategy for our Sports Group, our partners, and our Company.
This transition, combined with our robust portfolio of assets, including Golf Channel, The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, 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.
We will keep you informed as the broader plan develops, and please join me for a virtual meeting on Tuesday afternoon, January 26 to answer your questions. A meeting invitation will follow shortly.
Thank you for everything you’re doing on behalf of NBC Sports Group.
Stay tuned for more.