|Country of origin||United States|
|Owner||NBC Sports Group
|Key people||Mark Lazarus (chairman, NBC Sports Group)|
|Major broadcasting contracts||NFL
Notre Dame football
Tour de France
NBC Sports is the programming division of the American broadcast network 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.
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. 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.
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, LII and LV.
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. 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", while Versus was reformatted toward a more mainstream audience, renamed the NBC Sports Network and eventually rebranded as NBCSN.
The merger also helped influence an extension of NBC Sports' contract with the NHL; the 10-year deal – valued at close to $2 billion, unified the cable and broadcast television rights to the league and introduced a new "Black Friday" Thanksgiving Showdown game on NBC, along with national coverage for every game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 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.
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. 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 NBC Sports Network. 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.
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. On October 4, 2017, it was announced that NBC Sports lost the broadcast rights to ESPN beginning with the 2018–2019 season.
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. The move was made mainly 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. Only Football Night in America remained in New York City, at Studio 8G in Rockefeller Center, until September 7, 2014, when production of that program also moved to Stamford.
In July 2013, NBC Sports reached a 10-year deal to restore NASCAR coverage to its properties for the first time since 2006. Beginning in the 2015 season, NBC and NBCSN televise coverage of the final 20 races of the Cup Series, and the final 19 races of the second-level circuit now known as the Xfinity Series. While no specific financial details were disclosed, NBC reportedly paid 50% more than ESPN and TNT (who took over the portion of the season previously held by NBC) combined under the previous deal.
On June 7, 2015, NBC Sports and The R&A agreed to a twelve-year deal to televise The Open Championship, Senior Open Championship, and Women's British Open on NBC and Golf Channel, beginning in 2017. The move came a year after NBC lost the rights to USGA tournaments to Fox Sports. The R&A's deal with ESPN had been through 2017, but the broadcaster opted out of the final year of their agreement.
Universal Sports Network ceased operations in November 2015. NBCUniversal acquired the rights to the content that was previously held by Universal Sports Network. Much of the programming moved to Universal HD, with the rest of the programming moving to NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
On March 7, 2016 NBC Sports and England's Premiership Rugby agreed an initial three-year deal to televise the Aviva Premiership from the following season. Up to 24 regularly scheduled Game of the Week programs for each round of the premiership will air on NBCSN and up to 50 other games will also be streamed live throughout the season on NBC Sports Live Extra. NBC's first live match was on March 12, 2016 when London Irish hosted Saracens at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Live on NBCSN.
In June 2016, the group launched NBC Sports Gold, an over-the-top streaming service. It debuted with a Cycling Pass, featuring several UCI road cycling races. In April 2017, a Track and Field Pass was launched, featuring IAAF and USA Track & Field meets, a Rugby Pass featuring the English Premiership, and a Pro Motocross Pass featuring the AMA Motocross Championship. A Premier League Pass was added in June 2017. The service is available on the website, and through apps for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. All passes except the Pro Motocross Pass are only available in the United States.
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 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.
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. In January, the company announced some exclusive digital-only streaming of the 2014 Olympics via the NBCOlympics.com 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.
In 2006, with the acquisition of NBC Sunday Night Football, NBC launched a new look for its sports operations primarily designed by Troika Design Group. Graphics for most major sports featured a predominantly dark and metallic look with an increased use of animation, while most other sports utilized a separate design with grey and yellow graphics. At Super Bowl XLIII, a refreshed version of the package was introduced, featuring a more vibrant and streamlined appearance.
Alongside the launch of 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 peacock, and an updated logo for the division as a whole. The new design was also intended to be modular, allowing it to be expanded for use in larger events across multiple events such as the Super Bowl or the Olympic Games. Breaking with its tradition of creating a full, dedicated graphics package for each game, NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics used a variation of the standard NBC Sports design instead.
The new on-screen graphics again designed by Troika predominately used a crystallized look with graphics using a dark steel-blue color scheme or a team's colors accented with brightly colored particles. Most lower thirds utilized a horizontal "pane" layout. Scoreboards also incorporated an animation for NBC peacock when a team scored. While most sports utilized a scoreboard appearing in the top-center of the screen without any shading, football still used a similar layout to the previous NBC package
Starting with the 2015 NHL Winter Classic, NBC Sports launched a comprehensive redesign of its on-air appearance. For football, it debuted a revamped graphics package for its NFL coverage on Wild Card Saturday Night. This was part of a new graphics set introduced across other NBC Sports properties, including Premier League and NHL on NBC among others. Once again, a variation of the standard NBC Sports design was used for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the first Olympics in which a full 16:9 frame was used for its graphics.
On February 4, 2018, NBC Sports debuted a new graphics package for Super Bowl LII, which feature new horizontal 3D scans. In the coming weeks and months, the new graphics will spread into other NBC Sports and NBCSN productions, such as the network's coverage of the NHL, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, French Open, Premier League, NASCAR on NBC, U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Notre Dame Football on NBC and Sunday Night Football. However, NBC's Olympics broadcasts returned to a full, dedicated graphics package for the 2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea) for the first time since 2010 (Vancouver).
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