From Outdoor Life Network to OLN to … Versus.
The new moniker -- to be introduced on-air to consumers at the end of the service’s coverage of the National Hockey League playoffs in early June -- is the culmination of a two-year evolution at the Comcast Corp.-owned channel, once known principally for hunting and fishing fare, then for Tour de France coverage and bull riding and, more recently, for NHL action.
OLN’s growth path also includes acquiring sailing’s America’s Cup, the Boston Marathon, the Iditarod sled-dog race, World Cup Skiing, Davis Cup tennis, the Arena Football League and even reality series Survivor.
Unifying it all is competition, according to network president Gavin Harvey.
Versus, suggested by a staffer, was one of hundreds of candidates: The network sought trademarks on several, including Sports Country and Victory. The chosen name repeatedly scored well with various focus groups, including blind tests with sports fans, Harvey said.
“Versus works on every level of what we do: man versus man, man versus beast, team versus team, country versus country, from stick-and-ball sports to bull riding to field sports,” he said, adding that it hits “the essence of our network.”
Versus also will be mentioned during Tour de France coverage. Hollywood-based agency Bird Design is currently working on the logo, and an off-air consumer branding campaign will commence at the end of summer.
The new name will officially take root on-air sometime before the start of the 2006-07 NHL season next fall.