SBD/February 16, 2011/Media

Graduation Day? CBS College Sports Network Rebrands As CBS Sports Network

CBS Sports yesterday announced that CBS College Sports Network will be rebranded as CBS Sports Network, effective April 4. The rebranding was done to "better capitalize on the CBS Sports brand overall," said CBS Sports Exec VP and network President David Berson. "It's about taking advantage of the great brand that we have in CBS Sports and aligning the properties more closely than we have in the past." There will be no immediate changes to the network's programming as a result of the name change, nor are there any current plans for additional CBS Sports properties to be shifted to the net. "The content at this point is not changing," Berson said. "We're still dedicated to college sports, and no one has plans of decreasing our college sports coverage." However, he did acknowledge that the name change allows for a potential expansion of the network's content in the future. Berson also noted the rebranding would not impact any rights deals CBS College Sports has with conferences, including the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA (William Cooper, THE DAILY). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds wrote the name change will "more closely align" CBS Sports' properties, "including CBS Sports, Showtime Sports, CBSSports.com and MaxPreps.com." The name change is the "second in three years" for the net, which "counts some 40 million subscribers." CBS acquired CSTV in January '06 "before integrating it into CBS Sports early in 2008 and then rebranding it CBS College Sports Network that February" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 2/15).

EYE ON A RIVAL: DAILY VARIETY's Jon Weisman wrote while "making no claim to challenge ESPN at this point, CBS is undoubtedly keen on building the relationship between its flagship network sports properties -- which include the NFL, the PGA Tour and NCAA football and basketball -- and those of its sports cable outlet, similar to the synergy shared by ABC and ESPN." Berson said directly competing with ESPN is a "pretty tall order." Berson: "I wouldn't say that right now, but I do think there's tons of sport content out there (and) tons of ideas to generate more sports content. It's a first step in a pretty aggressive push forward to be more relevant in the sports media world" (VARIETY.com, 2/15).
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