NBCSN, CBSSN Focus On Acquiring Smaller Sports, More Original Programming
NBCSN instead of taking on ESPN directly has "looked to acquire sports rights with smaller, passionate fanbases and own the market for the Olympics, hockey, motorsports, and now the EPL," according to Matt Yoder of AWFUL ANNOUNCING. Yoder noted NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller has been "a driving force in the many rights deals NBC has struck" with F1, the EPL and NASCAR among others. Miller said, "I'm really excited about a lot of the programming acquisitions and development we've made. ... We're excited about the way the network looks, the quality of production." Miller added, "Clearly the original programming area is a challenge that we continue to work on. We've had some successes with shows like 'NFL Turning Point.' ... But we continue to work hard to develop that original studio programming that we know is very important to the success of a 24/7 cable network." Miller said of acquiring sports with smaller fanbases, "One of the unique things about those properties is that they're exclusive to the NBC platform. While we share NASCAR with Fox when it's our portion of the season from July-November we're the place to come for NASCAR. We're the place to come for the Premier League. We're the place to come for all NHL content. The same thing with the Olympics and Formula 1. When you have the opportunity to own those sports exclusively and vertically integrate them through your different platforms we think that's where we can really maximize value." Miller said of NBCSN's status in the current TV market, "I would equate us to a very hungry, well funded startup that has made some real progress in 2 years and continues to grow. We're still very early on in our growth curve and have made a lot of changes from what Versus was" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 8/13).
JOCKEYING FOR POSITION: VARIETY's Rick Kissell wrote NBCSN and CBSSN are "staying in their lanes" in their "bid to chase down ESPN." Each net "recently streamlined its name, significantly increased its number of live programming hours, and is aggressively looking for ways to deliver more 'shoulder programming' on the backs of its parent broadcaster’s marquee events." CBS Sports President David Berson "points to Jim Rome’s weeknight show and the launch earlier this year of a 24/7 CBS Sports Radio national network as part of an effort to better use all of the Eye’s assets and talent." Former CBS Sports Exec Producer Rick Gentile said that that while CBSSN "has grown, it should have more college basketball on air, especially during March Madness." Meanwhile, NBCSN's Miller said, "We look for sports that lead to great storytelling that we can showcase in an exclusive way" (VARIETY.com, 8/13).