Universal Sports Dropping Multicast Outlets

Seeking greater coverage and the ability to telecast in HD, the four-year-old sports channel is making the switch from over-the-air multicast to cable and satellite for distribution.


Universal Sports, the four-year-old multicast channel of NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, has decided to take its lineup of Olympics-style sports to cable and satellite, the company announced today.

The switch from multicast to cable/satellite distribution will begin in earnest in January tied to a new “I Want Universal Sports” marketing campaign.

“We have demonstrated the extraordinary value of our content and brand, and our new business model will allow us to recognize that value while helping our distribution partners to grow their high-definition video and digital businesses,” said CEO David Sternberg in a prepared statement.

Universal Sports is already a hybrid, having launched on DirecTV nationwide in July. It said it is in “advanced discussions” with other multichannel operators.

In July, Universal Sports told TVNewsCheck it had cleared 34% of TV homes as a multicast channel on stations owned by NBC, Gannett, Tribune and Belo.

Comments (17)

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mike tomasino says:

September 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

Are they dropping the multi-cast channels or just adding NBC-US in HD to cable and satellite? It isn’t as if NBC-US really has had any programming worth paying for!!! Not that anything on cable is worth paying for.

    Linda Stewart says:

    September 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

    They’re dropping multicast as I understand it.

    mike tomasino says:

    September 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Then I hope that KUSA/KTVD replaces it with something good! 😉

    Christina Perez says:

    September 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Just the latest move toward Comcast’s goal of destroying free, over the air broadcast television in America.

    len Kubas says:

    September 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Isn’t that what your posts end up doing? Are you a disinformation troll working for them in this mission? False-flag operation?

len Kubas says:

September 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

this is funny, since in many markets the “folks” putting US into a transport stream along with HD NBC content are stations owned by NBC, or are operated by NBC. This might just be a way of justifying the move to cable distribution in a “politically-correct” manner.

    mike tomasino says:

    September 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Well, last I remembered NBC-Universal was owned by Comtrash… So, I can’t really see them wanting OTA to be a successful distribution platform.

Lady Success says:

September 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I hope WTHR picks up a classic TV net in Indy as a compliment to Antenna TV on Fox.

Ellen Samrock says:

September 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

There has been speculation elsewhere that NBC-Universal will be opening that bandwidth up for Mobile DTV use rather than replacing Universal Sports with another sub-net.

    len Kubas says:

    September 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    past tense? NBC is already broadcasting M/H over virtually all their owned or operated stations — last I heard, only one had yet to do it. They are a partner in Dyle, which will need bandwidth from partners. M/H services are essentially “sub-channels” already.

Cheryl Davis says:

September 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Comcast owns a very small percentage of NBC/UNI Sports. They have a very weak affiliate distribution team and this is an easier way to get eyeballs on the network.

    len Kubas says:

    September 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    US gets very few eyeballs — aside from Olympics-themed talk shows during Olympics coverage, and the problem isn’t a lack of interested eyeballs. Weak affilate distribution teams can be overcome a bit with dual revenue streams. They don’t really have much in the way of actual paying advertisers to boot.

Jill Colvin & Catherine Lucey says:

September 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

This way Comcast gets to charge every cable subscriber for a network nobody watched for free.

Teri Keene says:

September 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Good riddance. While they’re at it, can Nothing But Crap move the awful Non-Stop channel as well?

Just Fine says:

September 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Here’s hoping Sky 4 in my part of the world picks up Me-TV for 4.2. Would be nice. More classics over-the-air is always a good thing.

john McCarthy says:

September 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

We all warned that this would happen when Comcast wanted to assimilate NBC. They would do anything they could to push more and more of NBC’s content to cable. If you are still using cable, you are using the 8-Track of television distribution on an outdated (and over-bloated) business model. More subscribers are dropping cable and returning to free Digital HD over-the-air television since they can use their consume choice. Cable continues to price themselves out of the market and wants to eliminate consumer choices.

    jack leister says:

    September 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    This move makes good business sense as it puts US in front of many more potential eyeballs (not just on the subcarrier of a few NBC o&O’s) which is the point of any commercial cable or broadcast channel = to make money.

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