NBCUniversal plans to shut down NBC Sports Network at the end of the year. The impact that decision will have on one of black college sports’ marquee events remains unclear.
According to multiple reports, NBCUniversal announced those plans Friday and plans to migrate larger sports properties like the NHL, NASCAR English Premier League to USA Network while providing content to bolster streaming service Peacock.
The annual Bayou Classic football game, featuring Grambling State and Southern, currently airs on NBCSN. The Louisiana HBCUs and NBC Sports Group currently have an agreement to air the game through 2021. The Thanksgiving weekend game has aired on an NBC property for nearly 30 years.
“We’re absolutely committed more than ever to live sports as a company, and having such a large platform like USA Network airing some of our key sports content is great for our partners, distributors, viewers and advertisers alike,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua told the Wall Street Journal.
Attempts to reach Southern Athletic Director Roman Banks, Grambling Athletic Director Rusty Ponton and NOCCI President Dottie Belletto for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
Parent company Comcast originally launched NBCSN as the Outdoor Life Network in 1995. The network was changed to Versus after gaining broadcast rights to the NHL, and became NBCSN after Comcast bought NBC in 2011. NBCSN is currently in 80.6 million homes.