NBC Sports

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NBC Sports
Industry Television
Genre Sports
Founded 1946
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut
Key people Mark Lazarus
Parent NBC Sports Group
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, the NHL, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the English 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.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

2000s[edit]

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 and XLIX.

2010s[edit]

2011-present: Comcast merger, NBC Sports Network, and move to Connecticut[edit]

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]

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 will remain based in New York City, at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center.

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]

Olympics[edit]

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, and 2010. NBC has aired 12 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. Recently, 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 will also cover the 2014 Winter Olympics games being held in Sochi, Russia. Over 500 hours of the games will broadcast across NBC television channels (NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network), and 1,000 hours will be 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]

Graphics[edit]

1999–2006[edit]

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.

2006–2011[edit]

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.

2012–present[edit]

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 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]

Programs throughout the years[edit]

Current programs[edit]

Former programs[edit]

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

Notable personalities[edit]

Present[edit]

Play-by-play[edit]

Analysts[edit]

Reporters[edit]

Studio hosts[edit]

Former[edit]

Play-by-play[edit]

Analysts[edit]

Reporters[edit]

Studio hosts[edit]

Telemundo personalities[edit]