With this week representing a watershed time in the sports media, AA is sitting down with executives from various cable sports networks for an open forum on their progress and standing in the sports world. Today I spoke with Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN. Miller has been a driving force in the many rights deals NBC has struck with Formula 1, the English Premier League, and NASCAR among others and the remaking of Versus into NBCSN.
When NBC Sports Network launched on January 2, 2012 many observers thought it would become an immediate challenger to ESPN's long held grip as the #1 sports network in the land. Instead of taking on Bristol directly though, NBCSN has looked to acquire sports rights with smaller, passionate fanbases and own the market for the Olympics, hockey, motorsports, and now the EPL.
In spite of adding popular personalities like Dan Patrick and Michelle Beadle though, NBCSN has found it difficult to draw viewers to the network's studio programming. NBCSN has seen its lineup shuffled with shows like NBC Sports Talk being jettisoned in favor of the new SportsDash with Yahoo Sports and The Crossover being retooled. In many ways, NBCSN is still a work in progress although in the world of 24/7 sports it seems like it's been around forever.
I discussed with Jon Miller what areas he's been pleased with in the 19 months NBCSN has been on the air and what areas still needed work, why the EPL is so integral to NBCSN's future, whether he'll make a serious push for the NBA, what will ultimately make NBCSN a success, and what one word he would use to describe NBC Sports. And no, it isn't "fun."