SBD/Closing Bell

Universal Sports TV Channel Slated To Shut Down Next Month

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The Universal Sports TV channel is shutting down next month after nearly a decade in operation. NBC execs told the channel’s approximately 75 employees during an early morning meeting in L.A. today. The channel, which is majority owned by InterMedia Partners, notified distributors that its signal would be taken down Nov. 16. NBC, which holds a minority stake in the channel, will pick up the channel’s portfolio of Olympic sports rights.

The decision to shutter Universal altogether was described as “shocking” by one source. It is unclear how NBC will use those rights on its existing channels, like NBCSN. NBC Sports Group emailed a statement saying, “We are thrilled to be finalizing an agreement with Universal Sports that will provide NBCUniversal and NBC Sports with an impressive collection of media rights to some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. We will have more information regarding our plans when the transaction closes in November.”

The uncertainty surrounding Universal’s future, which has lasted throughout most of '15, has frustrated some Olympic sports NGBs as they tried to do deals covering '16 while not knowing the channel’s future.
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