August 1st at the Television Critics Association 2011 Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, Mark Lazarus, Chairman of the NBC Sports Group, announced that VERSUS was being re-branded as the “NBC Sports Network” beginning on January 2, 2012. More than just a new logo, this is a strategic refocusing of the VERSUS brand to leverage the heritage of NBC Sports on cable and deliver added value to marketers, consumers and affiliates. Lazarus also announced that the iconic NBC Sports logo was slightly updated.
NEW YORK – August 1, 2011 – As part of a new strategy to bring all four tiers of its assets (broadcast network, two national cable networks, 11 regional sports networks and digital) into a consistent framework of branding, the NBC Sports Group today announced that VERSUS will be re-named the NBC Sports Network. In addition, the NBC Sports Group will implement a redesigned NBC Sports logo. Both changes take effect January 2, 2012. Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, made the announcement today at the Television Critics Association (TCA) conference in Los Angeles.
The NBC Sports Network will serve as a 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports’ rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and broad promotional power. Many NBC Sports production and programming elements have already been introduced on VERSUS since the merger – such as adopting the “Inside the Glass” production philosophy for all its NHL games, and adding horse racing and Notre Dame Football-related programming. Viewers can expect to see even more changes in the future.
“This effort is a major step towards a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses,” said Lazarus. “This is more than just a name change for VERSUS. It’s a complete repositioning of the brand to provide value for marketers, consumers as well as all our affiliates and distributors. We want anyone who comes into contact with any of our assets to immediately connect with the NBC Sports brand promise.”
A new NBC Sports logo will also be implemented on January 2. The new logo features an evolutionary design that maintains the equity of the classic NBC Sports logo, while signaling something new. Changes include:
· The Peacock is slightly larger.
· The letters “NBC” are still bold, but have a new font which puts them in balance with the Peacock.
· “Sports” maintains its scripted feel, but features a new hand-lettered font exclusively created for NBC Sports.
· Previously “Sports” was on an angle, but it has been straightened to allow for “Network” to fit easily beneath it and to accommodate the on-air design of commonly used sports tickers.
“The re-brand effort afforded us the opportunity to modernize the NBC Sports logo,” said John Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Television Group and head of the NBC Sports Agency. “The changes are subtle, but signal a big change: a new beginning for the NBC Sports Group.”
January 2 was chosen as the re-brand date for several reasons, including the number of strategic events with large viewing audiences on NBC within a short timeframe that can be used to call attention to the re-branding efforts:
· On Sunday, January 1, the NFL’s regular-season will conclude with the Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup just hours prior to the re-brand.
· On re-brand day, Monday, January 2, the NHL Winter Classic on NBC will allow for significant cross-promotion with the newly-named NBC Sports Network.
· On Saturday, January 7, the NBC Sports Group will utilize its NFL Wild Card doubleheader coverage to drive re-brand awareness.
· On Sunday, February 5, Super Bowl XLVI, the most-watched program of the year, will provide an unprecedented opportunity for cross-promotion between NBC and the NBC Sports Network.
The January 2 re-brand efforts are a continuation of branding initiatives that began as soon as the NBC Sports Group was formed. In February it was announced that all golf broadcasts on NBC would be re-branded as “Golf Channel on NBC.” In April, NBCSports.com absorbed VERSUS.com to create a single, robust online destination for fans.
NBC Sports Group’s regional sports networks are not currently scheduled to be re-branded, however, Lazarus said “many will evolve to have the look and feel of our NBC Sports brand and production values.”
— NBC Sports Group —