American sports channel NBCSN to close at end of 2021

American sports cable channel NBCSN, which airs many of the nation’s top racing series including NASCAR and IndyCar, is to be closed down at the end of 2021.

Parent company NBC Universal confirmed to staff in a memo on Friday afternoon that much of its programming will be migrated to sister channel USA Network.

NBC holds the U.S. broadcast rights to half of the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series events, which it shares with Fox, as well as fulltime coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCars, NHRA and Moto America. It also broadcasts national coverage of MotoGP events and the Dakar Rally.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua said: “We’re all aware of how quickly the media landscape is evolving, and our Company is taking thoughtful steps to stay ahead of these trends wherever possible and, in many instances, help set them.

“This will make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost.”

One likely destination for racing series will be NBC’s Peacock streaming service, which already carries the majority of English Premier League soccer games.

Cable networks such as NBC have had their revenues hit hard recently by Netflix-style offerings, while NBC Universal’s movie production and theme park businesses have also been badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The channel – which reaches over 80 million homes in the U.S. – was launched in 1995 as the ‘Outdoor Life Network’ and was rebranded NBC Sports Network in 2011. 

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