Report Says NBC Thinking of Selling Regional Networks or Moving them to Peacock

As you know, NBC Universal has been gutting its regional affiliates for several years now. Here at home, we’ve seen the departure of numerous individuals as NBC Sports Philadelphia becomes a bare bones hub for the broadcasting of Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers games.

According to an article at The Wall Street Journal, NBC is reportedly considering selling their RSNs outright, or moving them to a streaming service instead.

From Lillian Rizzo:

NBCUniversal has explored putting its regional sports channels on the streaming service Peacock or selling them off, as the company tries to figure out a future for a business under increasing stress, people familiar with the situation said.

Early this spring, NBCUniversal planned to start streaming NBC Sports Philadelphia, which broadcasts the city’s pro basketball, baseball and hockey games, the people said. The goal was to be up and running in time for the Major League Baseball season that began in April.

The plan was halted over concerns that it would conflict with the broader streaming strategy of NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp., the people said.

NBCUniversal is still considering options for streaming its sports channels on Peacock, the people familiar with the situation said. The company also is exploring whether to sell off the networks and sees the teams associated with them as potential buyers, some of the people said. Teams often hold an equity stake in the networks that air their games.

Wow, now wouldn’t this be something? Imagine if we go from Comcast SportsNet, to NBC Sports Philadelphia, to moving the entire operation over to Peacock, in the span of just four years.

Or – NBC just gets rid of the regionals entirely, and the Sixers/Flyers/Phillies go elsewhere for a broadcast partner. That would be wild.

These RSNs used to do good business, and had some good programming. Daily News Live was great. Breakfast on Broad was original and local. You had sideline reporters and a more robust talent pool working games. In recent years, they axed most of those shows, laid off a ton of people, and now have skeleton crews doing the bare minimum. Cord-cutting hit the regionals pretty hard, then along came COVID-19 to screw things up even more.

In recent years we’ve seen the departure of:

  • Michelle Murray
  • Derrick Gunn
  • Gregg Murphy
  • Ron Burke
  • Neil Hartman
  • Marshall Harris
  • Tim Panaccio
  • John Boruk
  • Andy Schwartz
  • Jess Camerato
  • Dei Lynam
  • Molly Sullivan
  • Serena Winters
  • Katie Emmer
  • Enrico Campitelli
  • Paul Hudrick
  • Brooke Destra
  • Maureen Quilter
  • a VP of Marketing that had been there for 23 years

And that’s just off the top of my head. The operation over there is completely different from what it was, just a few years ago, then comes this report, saying that NBC has considered selling the regionals.

We’ve been trending in this direction for some time, so I guess none of this should be surprising, but stand by, because it’s a huge story.

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