NBC Sports Network Press Release

NEW YORK – August 1, 2011 – As part of a new strategy to bring all four tiers of its assets (broadcast network, two national cable networks, 11 regional sports networks and digital) into a consistent framework of branding, the NBC Sports Group today announced that VERSUS will be re-named the NBC Sports Network. In addition, the NBC Sports Group will implement a redesigned NBC Sports logo. Both changes take effect January 2, 2012. Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, made the announcement today at the Television Critics Association (TCA) conference in Los Angeles.


The NBC Sports Network will serve as a 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports’ rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and broad promotional power. Many NBC Sports production and programming elements have already been introduced on VERSUS since the merger – such as adopting the “Inside the Glass” production philosophy for all its NHL games, and adding horse racing and Notre Dame Football-related programming. Viewers can expect to see even more changes in the future.


“This effort is a major step towards a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses,” said Lazarus. “This is more than just a name change for VERSUS. It’s a complete repositioning of the brand to provide value for marketers, consumers as well as all our affiliates and distributors. We want anyone who comes into contact with any of our assets to immediately connect with the NBC Sports brand promise.”


A new NBC Sports logo will also be implemented on January 2. The new logo features an evolutionary design that maintains the equity of the classic NBC Sports logo, while signaling something new. Changes include:


The Peacock is slightly larger.

The letters “NBC” are still bold but have a new font which puts them in balance with the Peacock.

“Sports” maintains its scripted feel, but features a new hand-lettered font exclusively created for NBC Sports.

Previously “Sports” was on an angle, but it has been straightened to allow for “Network” to fit easily beneath it and to accommodate the on-air design of commonly used sports tickers.



“The re-brand effort afforded us the opportunity to modernize the NBC Sports logo,” said John Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Television Group and head of the NBC Sports Agency. “The changes are subtle, but signal a big change: a new beginning for the NBC Sports Group.”


January 2 was chosen as the re-brand date for several reasons, including the number of strategic events with large viewing audiences on NBC within a short timeframe that can be used to call attention to the re-branding efforts:


On Sunday, January 1, the NFL’s regular season will conclude with the Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup just hours prior to the re-brand.

On re-brand day, Monday, January 2, the NHL Winter Classic on NBC will allow for significant cross-promotion with the newly-named NBC Sports Network.

On Saturday, January 7, the NBC Sports Group will utilize its NFL Wild Card doubleheader coverage to drive re-brand awareness.

On Sunday, February 5, Super Bowl XLVI, the most-watched program of the year, will provide an unprecedented opportunity for cross-promotion between NBC and the NBC Sports Network.

The January 2 re-brand efforts are a continuation of branding initiatives that began as soon as the NBC Sports Group was formed. In February it was announced that all golf broadcasts on NBC would be re-branded as “Golf Channel on NBC.” In April, NBCSports.com absorbed VERSUS.com to create a single, robust online destination for fans.


NBC Sports Group’s regional sports networks are not currently scheduled to be re-branded, however, Lazarus said “many will evolve to have the look and feel of our NBC Sports brand and production values.”








Mike “Doc” Emrick Named First Media Member to US HHOF in History

From USA Hockey:

One of the most recognizable voices in sports, Mike “Doc” Emrick has been behind the microphone for some of the most memorable games in modern hockey history. In his nearly 40 years as a play-by-play announcer, Emrick has called 13 Stanley Cup Finals as the lead national announcer on NBC, Versus, FOX and ESPN and also 23 game sevens in NHL playoff action. His voice was also heard during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games gold-medal men’s hockey contest, which was the most watched hockey game in America in 30 years. A 2008 recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting, Emrick has called NHL games for all major networks, while also serving as the voice of the New Jersey Devils from 1993-2011. Emrick has received numerous honors, including a national Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sports Personality – Play by Play” in 2011, the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2004, as well as seven local Emmy Awards. A native of La Fontaine, Ind., he has served as vice president of the NHL Broadcaster’s Association since 1985 and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.


Puck the Media’s Summer Reading/Watching Project #2: The Boston Bruins 2010-11 Championship DVD

Summer can be dull for a hockey writer, especially a hockey media writer. So, I’ve decided to take on a new project until hockey season returns. Every Monday (or at least most Mondays) will feature “Puck the Media’s Summer Reading/Watching Project.” It will contain various hockey/non-hockey books and DVDs and other goodies for the whole family (or just the nerds). Why should you care? Because the Tuesday after every review, you’ll have a chance to win the product reviewed. So check in with me every Monday and Tuesday.

I’ve always had a deep affinity and connection for championship videos and DVDs. One of my first experiences of knowing what hockey even was came from the 1995 New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup Championship DVD. It was everything that was great about hockey. Quick cuts to hits, saves and goals. A young(er) core of superstars and a goaltender named Brodeur. Heck, even the Van Halen song “Runnin’ with the Devil” plays during the video. It is as responsible as any other singular moment in creating a new hockey fan.

It was certainly an interesting experience to watch the 2010-11 Bruins DVD (and blu-ray, in the combo pack offered to me from Warner Home Video). I had no real stake in the team throughout the season and post-season, and Zdeno Chara is my dad’s least favorite player currently living, but I had cordial feelings towards this bunch, and like many hockey fans, found Tim Thomas immensely likable. There was also that Burrows biting incident in Game 1 that made them underdogs against Vancouver. That said, I don’t have as great a connection to these athletes, so one would think the challenge for the producers of the video to get me into this.

I must say, they do a pretty solid job of it. The video is big on who you’d expect (Thomas, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic) and some unexpected personalities pop out (Peter Chiarelli) to tell the story of how a GM rebuilt a legendary franchise into a Stanley Cup Champion for the first time in 39 years. The DVD begins at an ominous, seminal moment in modern Boston hockey history: the trade of Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks in late 2005. From there, they do a great bit of storytelling, showing how the team came together under Chiarelli (sadly, the words “Kessel trade” are not included).

The regular season – as is typical in these videos – is lightly tread upon, with a little footage of the team’s trip to Prague to begin the campaign, a couple of games against the Habs, and the trades for guys like Chris Kelly, Rich Peverly and Tomas Kaberle at the deadline. Other than that, you don’t see much from the regular season, but that’s what you usually see from these, so I’m not all that miffed.

From the playoffs on, the video is terrific. All the beautiful shots, mixed in with insightful commentary, are what cements this as a must-buy for Bruins fans and collectors. Through Montreal, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Vancouver, a lot of analysts (Jack Edwards, Dave Goucher, Mike Milbury, Andy Brickley, Bob Ryan) whom add an outsider, Boston perspective to the typically dull player-speak that gives the video it’s charm. It isn’t just about a team, it is about a city dying to return to hockey glory.

As one would expect, there’s not much here for you if you aren’t a Bruins fan of any stature, a diehard NHL fan, or a collector. The bonus features include extra locker room and parade footage, along with a Top 10 of various categories throughout the year, and the terrific History Will Be Made commercials. That said, if you fall into any of the categories I just listed, you should own a copy of this. You will have a chance to in our contest tomorrow.

(Next Week: James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ Those Guys Have All the Fun)

VERSUS to Become NBC Sports Network on January 2, 2012

Michael McCarthy of USA Today breaks the story. More later today:

So much for the Versus name in TV sports. Comcast’s NBC Sports Group will announce Monday that it’s jettisoning the Versus moniker and changing the name of the cable channel to NBC Sports Network. The makeover, including a new peacock logo, takes effect Jan. 2.

“This is more than just a name change for Versus,” NBC Sports Group boss Mark Lazarus said in a statement. “It’s a complete repositioning of the brand.”

The national sports channel did a nice job on the NHL. But some hockey viewers complain, rightly or wrongly, they have trouble finding it on their cable box. Plus, Versus never developed into the legitimate, national rival to ESPN that many sports viewers had hoped.

The move was expected. Versus no longer has its own website.