NBC Sports

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NBC Sports
NBC Sports logo 2012.png
Division of National Broadcasting Company
Key people Mark Lazarus
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut
Major broadcasting contracts NFL
Notre Dame Football
PGA Tour
IndyCar Series
Triple Crown
Tour de France
Owner Comcast
Official website NBCSports.com
NBC Sports announcers Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, and Rodney Harrison on the air before a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver in September 2013.

NBC Sports is the sports division of the NBC television network. Formerly "a service of NBC News," it broadcasts a diverse array of programs, 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[edit]

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 12-year run on NBC.

During this era, NBC experimented with broadcasting emerging sports. In 2001, the network partnered with the World Wrestling Federation to establish the XFL – a new football league which introduced modified rules and debuted to tremendous, but short-lived fanfare, only lasting one season. 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 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. NBC announced in December 2005 that it would not renew its agreement. 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. The revenue-sharing deal called for the two sides to split advertising revenue after the network recouped expenses. 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 most 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 post-season games and Super Bowls XLIII, XLVI, XLIX and LII.


2011-present: Comcast merger, NBCSN, and move to Connecticut[edit]

Main article: NBCSN

In January 2011, Comcast closed 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, and that unit is now known under the branding of 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 of Wimbledon, in a 12-year deal. NBC had televised The Championships since 1969.[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 in the 2013–14 season, replacing ESPN and Fox Soccer.[8]

NBCSN logo

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) will air on NBCSN, while NBC will 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 bought the remaining 49% stake in NBCUniversal from General Electric for $16.7 billion, giving the cable operator full ownership of the film and television giant. On March 18, 2013, nearly all 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 their 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 that show 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 to start in 2014.[13][14]


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 Games in Moscow. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States and 64 other countries boycotted. 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 Seoul, as well as the Winter Games in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. NBC has aired 13 Summer and Winter Olympics, more than any other network and the Games have become an integral part of the network. 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,[15] including 27.6 million viewers of the Gold Medal Game in men’s hockey.[16]

NBC also covered the 2014 Winter Olympics games held in Sochi, Russia. Over 500 hours of the games were broadcast across NBC television channels (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network), and 1,000 hours were streamed digitally.[17] In January, the company announced some exclusive digital-only streaming of the 2014 Winter Olympics via the NBCOlympics.com website and the NBC Sports Live Extra app for Android and iOS. Those shows include Gold Zone, Olympic Ice, and NBC’s Olympic News Desk.[18]

NBC Sports Championship Season[edit]

In 2008, NBC Sports launched what was known as the Championship Season, a run of programming in the late spring in early summer. The original Championship Season concept ran from 2008 through 2011. It consisted of a bumper featuring the David Cook song "Heroes", which was played before each telecast. The original 2008-2011 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. In 2011, when NBC gained rights to the Belmont Stakes, it was inserted before Roland Garros. 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 over dramatic music. The promo was used as a commercial, 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 reorganized Championship Season. With the launch of NBCSN, feeder programming for Championship Season events began to appear on that network . These feeder programs 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 2008-2011 version and is fluid as NBC's rights to events change. It seems to be used more as an early summer umbrella title instead of a series of events as was the purpose of the 2008-2011 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 modern graphics package. The graphics were translucent black rectangles, with 3D gold bars on the top and bottom, with blue accents for most sports (green for golf, purple for Wimbledon, and orange for the tennis French Open). Interestingly, scoreboxes were still not permanent, and they disappeared during plays. In 2002, the graphics were modified. They were changed to rounded edged, and the translucent color was changed from black to the color of the accents, which also replaced gold as the border color. The graphics still had no animation and the scoreboxes still were not permanent until 2005, when college football and hockey finally adopted scorebars, which did not match the other graphics.


In 2006, with the acquisition of Sunday Night Football, NBC launched a new look for its sports operation primarily designed by Troika Design Group. Graphics for most major 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.

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 on hockey games near the end of December.


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 NBC peacock, and an updated logo for the division as a whole (replacing a logo that had been used 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.[19]

The new on-screen graphic design, again designed by Troika, predominantly uses 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 animation for NBC peacock when a team scores. While most sports now utilize a scoreboard appearing in the top-center of the screen without any shading, football still utilizes 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.[20]


A refreshed graphics design was introduced in January 2015: the graphics carry a brighter, metallic aesthetic with an increased use of fluid transitions and a more subtle gloss appearance. On football, 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).[21]

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.

Programs throughout the years[edit]

Current programs[edit]

Former programs[edit]

Former logo for NBC Sports, used from 1989 through 2011.

Notable personalities[edit]

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





Studio hosts[edit]

Studio analysts[edit]





Studio hosts[edit]

Telemundo personalities[edit]

Presidents and chairmen[edit]

Main competitors[edit]

NBC Sports Group[edit]

NBC Sports Group
Industry Television
Predecessor Comcast Sports Group
Headquarters Stamford,CT
Key people
Mark Lazarus, chair
Website NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com

After Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, its existing Comcast Sports Group—including the regional sports network chain Comcast SportsNet, Versus, and Golf Channel, were transferred into a new unit known as the NBC Sports Group; encompassing all of NBC Sports' media properties, along with other properties such as the recently established NBC Sports Radio. Mark Lazarus, formerly the head of Turner Entertainment Group, serves as the head of the NBC Sports Group cable networks.[28]


See also[edit]


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

External links[edit]