Universal Sports

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Universal Sports
Launched 2006
Network NBC Sports
Owned by InterMedia Partners (92%)
NBCUniversal (8%)[1]
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan Where Champions are Made.
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Woodland Hills, California
Formerly called World Championship Sports Network (WCSN)
Sister channel(s) NBC Sports
Website universalsports.com
DirecTV (US) Channel 625 (SD only)
Dish Network (US) Channel 402 (SD only)
Check with local provider Check your local listings
Verizon FiOS Channel 596 (HD)

Universal Sports, officially Universal Sports Network and formerly World Championship Sports Network, is an American cable television channel that airs various sports, primarily those contested in the Olympic Games. The network does not televise the live Olympic Games; however, the network did re-air the 2012 Olympics.[1]


World Championship Sports[edit]

The channel, originally called World Championship Sports Network (WCSN), was co-founded in 2006 by Claude Ruibal, its chairman and chief executive officer, and Tom Hipkins, a member of the channel's board of directors, with the help of Carlos Silva, its president and chief operating officer,[2] One of its first events was coverage of the United States Track and Field Championships via streaming video.[citation needed][clarification needed]

In 2007, InterMedia Partners gained a majority share of the network.[citation needed]

By March 2008, WCSN was being carried by several Granite Broadcasting-owned stations' subchannels.[3]

Universal Sports[edit]

In June 2008, NBC Universal joined with InterMedia in ownership of WCSN that gave NBC a minority share and rebranded the network as Universal Sports including a new logo with the NBC peacock.[4] By November 2008, all 10 NBC Owned Television Stations were carrying the network on subchannels. Universal Sports made the network free to carry for the local stations until 2011 but with the provision that the stations was able to get the subchannel carried by the local cable provider(s) by January 31, 2009. If a station failed to get cable carriage, the network might move to another station in that market that could get cable pick up. The network was being shopped to NBC affiliates until December 1.[5]

On 17 June 2010 Universal Sports along with the IRB announced that the channel would bring "unprecedented national television and digital media coverage of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments".[6]

On June 15, 2011, DirecTV became the first television provider to carry Universal Sports as a national basic channel.[7] This carriage agreement led to a further announcement on September 12, 2011, when it was announced that Universal Sports would transition to distribution via cable and satellite providers only by January 2012.[8]

On February 26, 2012, Dish Network added Universal Sports.[9] Universal Sports was made available in 1080i high definition as of March 2012.[10] [11]

Aside from the satellite networks, on January 1, 2012 Universal Sports disappeared from most cable systems in what has turned into a protracted battle to strong-arm cable systems to pay for the channel as a premium channel.[12] Even Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, who is a partial owner of parent company NBCUniversal, chose not to buy into the channel's demands.[13]


Universal Sports Network televises more than 1,200 hours of premiere programming each year.[when?][2] It covers over 30 sports, including World Championships, World Cups and Grand Prix Events.[2] The range of these events include:[2]

The channel has long-term broadcasting agreements[2] with the:

The channel provides year-round coverage of events that generally receive attention every few years. Through the television and internet streaming, a fan can see how Olympic athletes compete between the games. It promotes itself as "the athlete's network",[2] and extends its coverage through blogs and interviews outside of competition.

As reported by Olympic news outlet Around the Rings, Universal Sports and Infront Sports and Media announced an exclusive media rights agreement for the International Ski Federation World Cup events in 2011-2012.


External links[edit]