NBCSN to shut down

The NBC Sports Network will cease to exist by the end of 2021. The news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was confirmed when parent company NBC Universal sent staff a memo on Friday afternoon.

NASCAR has a TV contract with NBCSN that runs through 2024. The network broadcasts races in the second half of each season. The network also has NASCAR programming such as “NASCAR America” and the “Dale Jr. Download.” The network also has fulltime coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCars, NHRA and Moto America.

The network began as the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) in 1995 and became Versus in 2006. NBC broadcast races through a partnership with TBS starting in 1999; it left NASCAR in 2006 but returned with NBCSN in 2013.

NBC is owned by Comcast which also owns the USA Network. According to the memo Friday, most of the live sports programming will move to the USA Network, with others moving to NBC’s new streaming platform Peacock TV which is a pay channel. Some of NBCSN’s Indy coverage is already on Peacock, however, according to the TV contract with NASCAR, programming is not allowed to be behind a soft paywall.

NASCAR later issued a press release:

“We are committed to ensuring that NASCAR and IMSA races are carried and distributed smartly to our broad and loyal fan base. NBC is a best-in-class partner and we will work together to ensure continued high-quality delivery of our events now and in the future.”