Ive thought a little bit about these, so here goes:
1. NBC Sports/VERSUS Will Bid on Every Major Leagues Broadcast/Cable
Rights Between Now and 2014
Between 2011 and 2014, every major rights agreement in Sports TV,
aside from the NBA (2016) and SEC (Forever from now) will be up for
grabs. That means the NFL, MLB, and most importantly to our readers,
the NHL. NBC Sports having VERSUS as its cable arm gives it a power
they did not have until now. Not only does plunking down hundreds of
millions of dollars down on a sports league make sense, but its
something NBC/Comcast now must do to make the investment worthwhile.
NBC is a sinking ship. Right now, with the network in 4th place, I
have a feeling theyll take as much guaranteed ratings-grabbing
programming as they can. Watch them restart their proud tradition of
baseball broadcasting, with a Saturday game of the week supplemented
by a Sunday or Wednesday night game on VERSUS. Potentially an LCS on
both NBC & VERSUS? Im sure the NHL would be happy with that
2. NBC will go back to broadcasting regional NHL games instead of a
Game of the Week.
Now that NBC has the entire VERSUS NHL production team at its
disposal, theyll have a ton of hockey people to pay anyway, so
chances are well see the three-game national split again in coming
years, except for the occasional Ovechkin-Crosby or Red Wings-Pens
3. The NHL Network will open up a New York studio at 30 Rock.
Comcast owns a share of the NHL Network, and will probably want to
open up its own American studio for the U.S. version of the channel
at some point. With one of the most historic television buildings of
the world at your disposal, theres no reason not to have NHL: On the
Fly with your host Al Roker.
4. VERSUS Will Be the New Home of Sunday Night Football
This is going out on a serious limb. NBC will re-bid for the NFL when
the rights discussions come up, but instead of just going after one
package, they will look to purchase two. Theyll try to wrestle away
the AFC from CBS, and attempt to buy back the Sunday Night package,
and place it on VERSUS.
5. No Brainer Nightly Sports Highlight Shows
You think*** Ebersol wont give us a SportsCenter clone and an
NHL2Night revival with him running the show? Then you dont know
***. Farewell, Fanarchy.
6. The NHL and VERSUS/NBC Will Sign a 6-year, Multimedia Rights
Extension worth About $500 Million total.
If I had to venture a guess, based on the previous rounds of
negotiating (Which ended in VERSUS having a 6-year, about $400 million
total if Ive done the math correctly, and rectify it if Im wrong)
that ESPN will come close to this, but not likely do more. Yes, its
an over-bid. But its a bargain considering the NHLs growth
potential, and how much theyll have to pay for everything else.