10 May 2011

Comcast SportsNet Regionals to rebrand as NBC Sports

NBC Sports head Dick Ebersol apparently dropped this tidbit when he was a guest on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's talk show on Sirius XM on April 21, although it wasn't much reported then. From the MSO's perspective, it is somewhat sweet to know that your competitors (e.g., DirecTV, Dish, Verizon), still have to, in effect, promote you on their channel lineup.  Whether calling the network Comcast comes at any cost to the network is unclear.  With Comcast rebranding its TV service to Xfinity, a name change was probably necessary and certainly there is nothing magical about the name Xfinity Sports Philadelphia.

At this point, I wonder if there really is an NBC Sports brand.  Certainly the name NBC (and the other Big 4 broadcasters) stand for high quality production.  Given how the sports rights have moved from one network to another, it seems unclear if they mean anything more than that.  National network level production values for local sports, however, is better than nothing (e.g., Root, Versus).  There is a potential for enhancement to both the local and national NBC reputation, unlike the decade-old ShopNBC rebranding of Valuevision which doesn't enhance the Peacock or fit with home shopping.

NBC Steps Up Branding (MediaPost)

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