NBC’s Growing Role In The Versus Channel…

NBC is softly preparing to absorb the Versus Channel, the home for the Tour de France and other cycling events and it worries me some.

NBC has in some cases made a mess of TV coverage of The Olympics because they use a tape-delay strategy, compiling all the American-involved sports at prime-time. That’s fine in the sports where Americans do well, but the fly in the ointment is when the sport is really popular and interested people look up the results elsewhere. Even with a 12-hour delay they use teasers if history’s a guide.

A better strategy would be for them to couple a channel like Versus with their own Universal Sports to air more live coverage of events, airing a manicured summation in the prime-time. And they own plenty of beta channels, so even though they do some of this maybe it would seem like their denying less access if they did a better job of it.

The hope is that they improve coverage of TdF, not weaken it. The tour has its strong following so it’s not likely they’ll mess with it too much–at least not early on.

Speed Channel, a subsidiary of Fox hurts F1 by delaying a block of four races (the summer races) to the 1pm slot on Sundays instead of airing them when they come on (1pm in the locale where they would race).

I’m an F1 fan. I know if the race is in Malaysia, get sleep on my own time. The ratings might be better but the commercial breaks are murder.

Speaking of Speed Channel, how do they combine F1 and international motorsport on a channel with Nascar? And how does Versus combine cycling with hunting? I mean that’s like four different channels: stock car, int’l motorsport (F1, Le Mans), hunting and cycling (and marathons, etc.)

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