HABANA Avenue + Winter Classic – NBC Sports Network Faces Off – Multichannel News

Service Re-brands From Versus On Jan. 2

The new year has arrived and so has the NBC Sports Network.

The NBC Sports Network was re-branded from the national cable service that had been known as Versus at 4 p.m. on Jan. 2 (ET), with a special edition of NBC SportsTalk leading into a NHL Winter Classic post-game show at the conclusion of the contest.

Originally, the game plan called for Bob Costas, wrapping matters up from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia at the conclusion of the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, to throw viewers from NBC to the newly named cable service. However, the face-off for the outdoor game was pushed back to 3 p.m. from 1 p.m. in order to accommodate better game conditions.

Following the conclusion of the outdoor game on the Peacock, NBC SportsTalk will give way to the NHL Winter Classic post-game on the christened NBC Sports Network.

The service will continue with hockey-themed programming at 6 p.m. with the premiere of Cold War on Ice: Summit Series ’72, the documentary about the eight-game series between Team Canada and the Soviet Union national team, produced by former HBO Sports boss Ross Greenburg.

Cold War on Ice will be followed by NHL Live at 7:30 p.m. and the Vancouver Canucks hosting the San Jose Sharks at 8 p.m. NHL Live post-game and NHL Overtime will conclude the NBC Sports Network’s first day.

Since Comcast finalized the transaction for NBCUniversal last January, NBC Sports Group has ramped up the national cable network’s roster of properties, concluding a 10-year deal with the NHL, netting a multiyear pact with Major League Soccer and airing Notre Dame football action, college football, basketball and hockey, as well as horseracing fare around the sport’s Triple Crown. NBC Sports Network will also be a major player with the 2012 Summer Olympics from London.

The service has also added weekday news and analysis shows under the NBC Sports Talk and NFL Turning Point banners. NBC Sports Network also will see the Emmy-winner Costas host quarterly Town Halls. NBC Sports Group officially announced the cable network’s name change on Aug. 1.

By Mike Reynolds — Multichannel News