Sports has been very, very good to Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) so it's not surprising that former COO Steve Burke, now in control of Comcast's crown jewel programming provider NBCUniversal, is looking at how sports can improve the overall picture at the cable-network conglomerate, not just at NBC.
A Wall Street Journal story says that Burke is looking for sports deals that will spread coverage across all the NBCU networks and is looking at college sports, the Olympics and the NHL (which Comcast already controls via its Versus channel).
The NBCU moves reflect, on a larger scale, what Comcast tried to accomplish with Versus as it battled sports behemoth ESPN. Even after a concerted effort, the Journal concludes, "Versus has remained a second tier player (that) hasn't been able to gain full distribution. Nor has it been able to charge a premium in carrieage fees," costing cable operators about 28 cents per sub per month compared to $5 for ESPN channels.
- the Wall Street Journal has this story
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