Universal Sports to Close

Took Big Swing With Pay Channel Rebrand in 2012
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NBCU is shuttering the Olympics-themed channel Universal Sports Network. Headed up by Scott Brown, Universal Sports is available to some 65 million households across the U.S., including in sports tiers, but did not have carriage with key distributors such as Comcast and Cablevision. The channel’s majority owner is InterMedia Partners, who has Leo Hindery as managing partner, with NBCU holding a smaller stake.

NBCU will inherit some of the sports rights when Universal shuts down next month. “We are thrilled to be finalizing an agreement with Universal Sports that will provide NBCUniversal and NBC Sports with an impressive collection of media rights to some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. We will have more information regarding our plans when the transaction closes in November.”

Universal Sports was hatched as a free multicast channel and relaunched as a pay-TV net in 2012. It airs a mix of cycling, gymnastics, beach volleyball, skiing and other global sports with niche appeal in the U.S. Currently it is airing Rugby World Cup contests.

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