Let me start by saying that I was against Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal (now NBCUniversal). However, the one immediate positive is that the new bosses at Kabletown (with a K) have let the NBC Sports people run their existing sports operations.
Comcast, pre-NBC, owned Versus, a national sports network that has the NHL, Tour De France as well as some college football and basketball. They also own Comcast SportsNet, a series of regional sports networks in many markets like Chicago, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and their home base of Philadelphia.
This leaves us with SportsNet New York, which is run by Comcast, in the same manner as the CSN stations, but is also co-owned by Time Warner Cable (just the cable business, which was spun off from the rest of the company a few years ago) and the New York Mets. Even though its run by Comcast, it does not have Comcast in the name.
It would be wise for NBC/Comcast to have SNY be part of the NBC rebranding, as it would bring their new cable sports brand to NY’s largest market. NBC is connecting its local and national sports cable networks to the flagship TV network.
Uniting all of these sports presences would allow for something that currently isn’t happening in the sports media space: a legitimate competitor to ESPN. Having a local affiliate in New York would tremendously advance this possibility.
What’s likely needed is money. NBC needs to pay the Mets and Time Warner Cable to be part of this plan. While they’re at it, they should convince TWC to have their upcoming network about to launch in Los Angeles, featuring the Lakers to take the NBC branding as well.