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NBC Sports Network Will Reportedly Shut Down And Move Live Broadcasts To USA Network

NBC Sports routinely garners the highest NFL ratings of the season on its tentpole channel, but the dedicated sports network that bears its name will reportedly end in 2021.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on Friday that NBC plans to shutter NBC Sports Network, a huge move in the sports world that would see several sports leagues broadcast elsewhere among the company’s network of channels. The network, which began its life as a sports channel billed as Outdoor Life Network when NBC started broadcasting NHL games on it, had grown to cover a variety of sports including the English Premiere League, college basketball and NASCAR.

But Friday word rocked the sports world that the network would soon be no more, leaving uncertainty about where those broadcasts would be shown instead and what would happen to the broadcast teams viewers grew to expect covering them.

Further reporting brought things more into focus: NBCSN would shutter, with broadcasts for the NHL, NASCAR and others moving to USA.

The fear from many about NBC shuffling things around is that they would shelter more sports content on Peacock, the streaming service that has already taken many English Premiere League soccer matches away from broadcast television since it launched. But putting sports on USA isn’t new, either: Olympics coverage would often wind up on the network as well as some EPL matches on big days, and overflow sports broadcasts would also end up there if games in progress did not end in time.

Still, it’s a troubling move for sports fans and those in the sports entertainment industry, and there’s now plenty of uncertainty about big contracts with leagues like the NHL and NASCAR moving forward. And as other companies make strategic decisions with the growth of their streaming services in mind, it’s hard not to frame the decision to shutter NBCSN as more of the same.