Retrans warning? NBC realigns sports with Comcast

The news that NBC Sports Group has realigned its sports programming portfolio to include Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) stable of channels may be a red flag for cable operators accustomed to negotiating retransmission packages with NBC.

According to multiple reports, Sports Group Chairman Dick Ebersol has refocused his executive team to take advantage of Comcast's local and national sports channels, including The Golf Channel, Comcast SportsNet and Versus.

Sports, and particularly the Olympics, have been an NBC retransmission bargaining chip in the past when operators "negotiated carriage though Olympics carriage," American Cable Association (ACA) President-CEO Matt Polka said during a Q&A with FierceCable. "I wouldn't say that's worked out well because our members object to payment for even more sports programming in return for he right to receive a broadcast signal."

For more:
- the Los Angeles Times has this blog post

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Retransmission watch: Q&A with Matt Polka, president-CEO, American Cable Association
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Comcast CEO: We can help smooth retrans waters, once we get NBCU deal OK
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