The NBC Sports Network finally has its flagship conference (or something), but it's not the Big East, or the ACC, or the Big Ten, or any major conference.
It's actually.... the Colonial Athletic Association.
The network and the conference announced the deal will start for the 2012-13 season. The deal will provide national coverage for CAA's football and men's basketball games, including the final two rounds of the CAA basketball tournament, and will feature coverage on NBCSports.com for various other sports. The network will show a minimum of 12 basketball games and five football games over the course of the season, with regional Comcast networks showing 39 more men's and women's basketball games.
This deal isn't the game-changer that NBC probably envisioned for their network, and I'm not sure what this means for the deal that Versus (the former NBCSN) had last season with the Mountain West (although it has combined with Conference USA for the ultimate mega mediocre conference). An FCS conference isn't exactly going to move the needle on talk about the network considering NBC was rumored to be in play for more NFL games on Thursday nights before NFL Network stepped in. The CAA had just one team (Old Dominion) winning ten games in 2011. As for basketball, the CAA is a lot more interesting. 2011 Final Four participant VCU is a member of the conference, as well as 2006 Final Four team George Mason.
The broadcast deal seems like it'll be more beneficial for NBC for basketball as opposed to football, which is what I think they were going for in this situation. I'm pretty sure Versus didn't have very much basketball on prior to this deal, so it'll give the network a foothold in a major sport, no matter how small the CAA is. At some point though, NBCSN is going to have to catch some bigger fish if they want to be a major player.
[h/t: Baltimore Sun]