Four of Boise States next six football games will air on NBC Sports Network, formerly known as Versus. The network was rebranded Jan. 2, a year after Comcast purchased NBC Universal.
NBC is expected to bid on the Big East TV rights if they get past the exclusive negotiating window with ESPN, so the network could be the Broncos future TV home as well.
Jon Miller the president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network provided some insight into the networks future and the role college football could play.
Question: What is the vision for NBC Sports Network?
Answer: Were continuing to kind of change the look and feel of the network from what we inherited, which was primarily an outdoor network. Now, moving forward, were trying to acquire as much live content as we can.
Question: What kind of live events do you want?
Answer: There are things that make sense and are consistent with us. As a company, weve just spent $16 billion on sports rights in the past couple years, everything from extending the Olympics through 2020 to the NFL to the NHL to the PGA Tour. Weve got a lot of programming out there already committed. Were looking for more that could fit into the Sports Network.
Question: What college football rights does NBC have other than Notre Dame?
Answer: The Ivy League, the (Colonial Athletic Association), the Mountain West (through a sub-license with CBS). None of the big conferences are available to be bid for quite a while. The next one that becomes available is the Big East.
Question: What is the market like for college football?
Answer: Its obviously very strong. The problem is there isnt a lot out there. We were very aggressive on the Pac-12 rights. We bid in excess of $235 million (per year) and lost to a combined bid by ESPN and Fox. When the right properties come available, we will be an aggressive bidder for them.
Question: Whats driving the prices so high?
Answer: The scarcity of it. You only play 12 games a year, and the teams that play have very passionate followings. People in this country love football. Its very American in its roots. Its also where you see the future stars of the NFL.
Question: NBC made a presentation to the Big East. Will you pursue those rights?
Answer: We were invited to come down and make a presentation to Big East coaches and athletic directors in terms of what the network is about. Theyre still in their exclusive negotiating window. We dont interfere with existing deals. If the property does become available in the next couple months, Im sure wed be happy to sit down and have a conversation with them.
Question: Is there room for college football other than Notre Dame on NBC?
Answer: We love Notre Dame, but clearly if there is good, quality college football out there and we have the windows available, wed love to have it. We have some great windows. We only have seven Notre Dame games per year. There is opportunity to do more games.
Question: You ran ads during the Olympics that featured a glimpse of Boise State football, didnt you?
Answer: We did. They have a great program. Theyve been able to retool when you consider they lost their quarterback. Theyre an incredibly exciting, competitive team and were proud to have them on our air.