With the ushering in of the new year came the demise of several cable networks, which ceased operations by January 1.
NBC Sports pulled the plug on its national sports network NBCSN, nearly a decade after being rebranded from the former Versus network. The network had served as the outlet for NBC Sports’ Premier League Soccer and NASCAR auto racing programming — all of which will now shift to USA Network and NBCU’s streaming service Peacock.
Originally launched as Outdoor Life Network in 1995 and later renamed Versus in 2006, NBCSN was also the cable home of NBC Sports’ National Hockey League coverage before losing league TV rights to ESPN and TNT in 2021.
NBC is excited to transition the cable coverage of many of their premium sports events to USA Network, Peacock and other widely-distributed NBCUniversal platforms, which should give us a significant boost in television homes and will put them in an even stronger position as we grow our business.
Another national sports network, ESPN Classic, closed its doors on Jan. 1. The service, originally launched in 1995 by Brian Bedol and Steve Greenberg as Classic Sports Network, was purchased by ESPN in 1997 and featured replays of vintage sports events and some live programming. The network in recent years had lost carriage to other ESPN-owned sports services before being decommissioned on Saturday.
Univision on December 31 also ceased operations for its English-language cable news and lifestyle network Fusion TV. The Spanish-language network launched Fusion TV in 2013 in an effort to reach young, Hispanic viewers.
Univision pulled the plug on Fusion TV to turn its focus toward serving Spanish-language audiences, according to Forbes.