Reported in this morning’s edition of USA Today, Mike McCarthy says Versus will be rebranded as NBC Sports Network as of Monday, January 2, 2012.
The development is not a surprise as former NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol made hints to the name change earlier this year.
As Comcast took over NBC, the company decided to put all of its sports properties under the umbrella of NBC Sports. Ebersol was to have led the new division, but he announced he was leaving in June after he and Comcast could not come to agreement on a new contract.
Comcast has unsuccessfully tried to make Versus an all-out competitor to ESPN after rebranding it from Outdoor Life Network in 2006.
Plus Versus has had moderate success in gaining carriage on cable and satellite providers nationwide although it still has not received total access like ESPN.
This new rebrand will give viewers a familiar name and quality. Already, NBC/Versus has retained the rights to the NHL this year and NBC has already stated that Versus/NBC Sports Network will have a role in its Olympic coverage starting in 2012.
Expect the next rebrand in the NBC Sports Group to be with the Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks in New England, Philadelphia, Mid-Atlantic, South, Chicago, Houston, Bay Area/California and Northwest.
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