It’s Showdown Time as NBC Universal Enters Negotiations to Extend Carriage Deals

NBC Universal to negotiate carriage deals

(from Sports Business Journal, October 15-21, 2012)  Technology and sports are two things that go hand in hand today. Fans get their sports information from all over: mobile devices, social media, and internet. Mostly, however, people still get their fill of the game from television and TV channels. Just as any other area of sports TV is always changing and moving forward, which makes it difficult to keep up to date with.

At the end of this year NBC Universal will have to renegotiate many of its contracts with some of the country’s biggest distributors, since at the end of this year many of those contracts expire. Executive Vice President of content distribution, Matt Bond, will be negotiating extensions for cable channels with Dish Network, a distributor that represents more than 18 million subscribers.  Along with negotiating with Dish Network he will also have to create a new deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC). NCTC is an organization of 900 small to midsized cable operators that represent 25 million subscribers that will be negotiating for up to 18 networks. Charter, which has more than 4 million subscribers, will also negotiate for all of NBC’s cable channels.

These negotiations, which will include NBC Sports Network and the Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks, will be the first big carriage negotiations for the group since January 2011 when Comcast acquired NBC. This need for negotiations hasn’t come at a great time for NBC Sports Network because its highest rated programming generally comes from NHL games and the league is still in the lock out. This means that many of the cable operators are missing the $ 0.31 per subscriber per month that would usually come from the NHL games.

With the possibility of becoming a public and contentious event NBC Universal will have to find a way to distribute their channels and keep customers from being blacked out in the process, not an easy feat.