Versus to Be Rebranded as NBC Sports Network

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NEW YORK - Comcast-controlled NBCUniversal on Monday said it will rename sports cable network Versus as NBC Sports Network in January.

The company had previously said it will rebrand the network this year and had signaled it would include the NBC name.                                        

The name change comes as the conglomerate looks to make the sports network a bigger ratings draw to boost advertising sales and subscriber fees paid by TV distributors.

The NBC Sports Network will serve as the NBC Sports Group’s 24/7 cable platform, the company said in a statement.

“This effort is a major step towards a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark 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.”

The sports network recently extended its deal with the NHL and is also a key part of the Olympics coverage that will be featured across NBCUniversal's assets.

A new NBC Sports logo will also be introduced along with the name change on Jan. 2. In the new logo, the peacock is slightly larger, the words “NBC”  and "Sports" each have a separate new font and the latter, which used to be at an angle, has been straightened to allow for the word “Network” to fit beneath it.

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.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that NBC's on-air style and sports presentation, which emphasizes storytelling and profiles of athletes, will also come to the network as part of the rebranding.

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

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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