Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand has a column this week outlining five sports predictions for when Comcast finally completes its acquisition of NBC Universal.
It is a good read, which starts out obvious (Dick Ebersol will be running the new company’s sports division) but also includes some interesting thoughts on the RSNs and Versus.
For example, Ourand says the RSNs will likely be grouped with the NBC O&Os, allowing them to share resources, programming and staff:
To get an idea of Comcast’s thinking, look what the company is doing in Boston, where it essentially has merged CSN New England with New England Cable News. The two channels share resources and talent, and NECN’s sports reports are produced by CSN and staffed by CSN talent.
He also says that Versus’ days may be numbered:
NBC Sports is a stronger brand than Versus, which is why Comcast, in the first couple of months after regulatory approval, will rename Versus to something like the NBC Sports Channel or NBC Sports Network. Golf Channel and Universal Sports will not be renamed. For Comcast, a national cable network that shares a name with a broadcast network will help the two share programming and talent.
Ourand’s predictions make a lot of sense, and are based on reporting as much as they are guesswork. With the news last week that Ebersol was visiting Golf Channel’s facilities in Florida, the probability that he will be leading the charge is all-but-certain.