While watching the NHL Playoffs this summer, I noticed a subtle change from the announcers at NBC and NBC Sports Network. Occasionally, whether it be in the broadcast booth or the studio, the on-air talent would refer to NBC Sports Network by its acronym "NBCSN." At first it only happened a few times, but as the playoffs unfolded it happened more and more frequently.
Currently, the terms "NBC Sports Network" and "NBCSN" are used interchangeably, but the channel still maintains its full name. Not for long, though. We've learned from NBC Sports that their 24/7 cable sports channel will be fully rebranded as "NBCSN" by the Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2014.
The steady migration from NBC Sports Network to NBCSN has already begun as witnessed during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and elsewhere across the network.
As NBCSN moves closer to Sochi, viewers will begin to hear the "NBCSN" name more and more across all platforms and marketing initiatives. By the Sochi Games, NBC plans for the rebranding of its cable channel to be complete. NBC will use the Winter Olympics to permanently solidify the new branding for NBCSN and push properties that will air on the network.
Additionally, we've learned that beginning in August, the English Premier League broadcasts will primarily use the shortened NBCSN branding instead of the NBC Sports Network name for its telecasts.
The change by NBC Sports Network to the shortened acronym makes sense as a next logical step in the evolution of the cable channel. It's simply more efficient for everyone to use and will make it easier for the network and its properties to unite around. We've seen it happen in the past with Big Ten Network becoming BTN and of course nobody has referred to ESPN as the "Entertainment and Sports Programming Network" since the days of disco.
The shortening to the new NBCSN moniker will be completed approximately 25 months after NBC Sports rebranded Versus as the NBC Sports Network.
They've been trying to do this for awhile, I remember even last fall the logo bug in the corner would switch between "NBC Sports Network" and "NBCSN"
I've already seen the reporters using microphones that have the NBCSN letters (not "NBC Sports Network" in the very beginning of the changeover) when interviewing players in the pre-game and post-game segments. Also, I'm currently watching beach volleyball and they're using the NBCSN abbreviation.
It should be noted that print media may have had a small part to do with this. When Versus became NBC Sports Network, they asked papers/ TV guides to abbreviate it as NBCSP. Within 2 months many of them had changed it to NBCSN because CBS Sports Network was abbreviated CBSSN, and despite what NBC wanted, consistency was needed.