|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
(original launch; as WCSN)
June 16, 2008
(relaunch; as Universal Sports)
|Owned by||InterMedia Partners (92%)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||Where Champions are Made.|
|Headquarters||Woodland Hills, California|
|Formerly called||World Championship Sports Network (2006–2008)|
|DirecTV||Channel 625 (SD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 402 (SD)|
|Available on most U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 596 (HD)|
Universal Sports (officially Universal Sports Network) is an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network that is owned as a joint venture between InterMedia Partners (which owns a controlling 92% interest) and NBCUniversal (which owns the remaining 8%). The channel airs various sports, primarily those contested in the Olympic Games, an event which is not televised live by the network (however, the network did re-air the 2012 Summer Olympics).
World Championship Sports
The channel was launched in 2006 as World Championship Sports Network (WCSN); it was co-founded by Claude Ruibal (who served as the its chairman and chief executive officer) and Tom Hipkins (who served as a member of the channel's board of directors), with the help of Carlos Silva (its president and chief operating officer) One of the first events broadcast by WCSN was coverage of the United States Track and Field Championships via streaming video.[clarification needed]
In 2007, InterMedia Partners gained a majority ownership interest in the network. By March 2008, WCSN began to be carried on broadcast television, through the digital subchannels of several stations owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation.
In June 16, 2008, NBC Universal entered into a partnership with InterMedia in which the former acquired a minority interest in the channel; in addition, the network was rebranded as Universal Sports, incorporating a new logo with the NBC peacock. By November 2008, all 10 of NBC's owned-and-operated station had begun carrying the network on one of their digital subchannels. Universal Sports offered carriage on broadcast stations on a channel lease basis until 2011, with the provision that the stations strike deals with cable providers in their markets to carry the network by January 31, 2009. If a station failed to obtain cable carriage, the network had the right to move its affiliation to another station in that market that would be able to gain cable carriage. The network was being shopped to NBC-affiliated stations until December 1.
On June 17, 2010, Universal Sports, along with the International Rugby Board, announced that the channel would bring "unprecedented national television and digital media coverage of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments". On June 15, 2011, DirecTV became the first television provider to carry Universal Sports as a national basic channel.
The carriage agreement with DirecTV led NBCUniversal and Intermedia to announce on September 12, 2011, that it would transition Universal Sports into a cable- and satellite-exclusive service (effectively dropping its over-the-air affiliates) by January 2012. On January 1, 2012, Universal Sports was dropped by most cable providers as a result of a protracted battle to get providers to carry it as an a la carte premium service, instead of their sports tiers. One of the providers to drop the channel was Comcast, the nation's largest cable company and part-owner of Universal Sports' co-parent NBCUniversal at the time (it would later acquire the remaining ownership interest held by General Electric in 2012). On February 26, 2012, Dish Network began carrying Universal Sports.
Universal Sports HD
Universal Sports Network televises more than 1,200 hours of premier sports events on an annual basis.[when?] It covers over 30 sports, including World Championships, World Cups and Grand Prix Events. The range of these events include:
The channel has long-term broadcasting agreements with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Cycling Union (UCI), the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG), the International Rowing Federation (FISA), the International Ski Federation (FIS), the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
The channel provides year-round coverage of events that generally receive attention every few years. Through television carriage and internet streaming, viewers are provided an in-depth look at how Olympic athletes compete between the games. Universal Sports promotes itself as "the athlete's network", 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 beginning with the 2011-2012 season.
- ‘New relatives’ change NBC’s ties to Universal Sports Sports Business Daily, July 16, 2012
- About Universal Sports Retrieved October 28, 2008
- Allison Romano. (3/9/2008) Local Stations Multiply. Broadcasting & Cable. Accessed October 8, 2013.
- NBC Universal, World Championship Sports Network Join Forces on Olympic Games Site Retrieved September 1, 2008
- Greppi, Michele. November 2011. A Sports Menu for Digital Channels. TV Week.
- IRB, Rugby World Cup to make US network TV debut RugbyWorldCup June 17, 2010
- Cable Show 2011: Universal Sports Scores Multiyear Distribution Pact With DirecTV Multichannel News June 15, 2011
- Universal Sports Dropping Multicast Outlets, TVNewsCheck, September 12, 2011.
- "Universal Sports Network Announces Multi-Platform Distribution Deal with DISH Network". Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- Universal Sports To Relocate HD Production, Office Facilities, MultiChannel News, December 20, 2011
- BendBroadband Adds Universal Sports Network to Channel Lineup, "Pitchengine", March 22, 2012