Universal Sports Spikes Over-the-Air Model
Signing deals with subscription TV carriers instead
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/12/2011 10:16:16 AM
Universal Sports is transitioning from an over-the-air multicast channel to what it calls a "multi-platform, high definition service" on pay television, starting in Jan. 2012.
NBC's sports network has launched an "I Want Universal Sports" marketing campaign today to tell viewers about the transition. It includes print ads, television, radio and digital ad buys and on-site marketing.
Universal Sports airs Olympic-themed sporting events ranging from skiing to skating to track and field. The network made a substantial bet on the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which kicked off Sept. 9, and is airing several matches from New Zealand, including games featuring the U.S. Eagles squad. Parent NBC is airing some World Cup action too.
"Since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, we've provided our exclusive global sports programming to viewers in more than 50 markets nationwide," said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. "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."
A partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, Universal Sports launched on DirecTV nationwide in July, and is in advanced discussions, it says, with other distributors.
What about those of us that don't have satellite or cable because it's not available? NBC wants me to move now????
S McDonald - 7/26/2012 11:25:41 AM EDT
Fred - 1/5/2012 4:15:41 AM EST
Another very disappointed previous watcher of Universal Sports. We don't have or want cable, but the OTA broadcast of Universal was a huge hit. We watched your channel, and your advertising, all day long. But we don't love Universal enough to take on a $100+ subscription to cable or satellite. I'd pay you directly for access to your channel - give me an online subscription, or a monthly pay channel I can stream (like amazon or netflix) over the web and I'm back in. Fingers crossed that you guys come back around...
allie kemp - 1/3/2012 9:12:41 PM EST
What ? C'mon you guys. I cannot afford cable or satellite tv at this time. Universal Sports was my favorite channel. Please reconsider bringing it back to over the air digital tv. I'm sure you are losing a lot of viewers by going cable only, but you are probably not gaining a whole lot of viewers either. Most people that I know that use cable and satellite do not give a hoot about Universal Sports channel because of all the other sports channels available to them. Please reconsider. Thank you.
Alan Drey - 1/3/2012 5:22:52 PM EST
I feel that Universal Sports / NBC have been misleading to customers regarding the changeover. From Verizon FIOS point of view, Universal Sports withdrew from being on the WBIN affiliate in the Boston area. So, when I was asking for it to be on FIOS, I only got a negative that it had been Universal Sports decision to be dropped from their line up. Now I understand what has happened. Why couldn't this have been explained so that I could make the appropriate request? And how come viewers have been left high and dry? Now I have no Alpine Skiing to watch and I'm seriously bummed! This was not Verizon's fault; this was Universal Sports fault. Not playing nice, Universal Sports!!
Lucy Hamnett - 1/3/2012 5:14:07 PM EST
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