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Rebranding: Goodbye Versus, hello NBC Sports Network

Aug 1, 2011, 10:32 AM EDT

The long-awaited rebranding of Versus will finally arrive on January 2, 2012 when it will become NBC Sports Network.

When the calendar flips to January 2012 and you’ll be looking on your cable guide to find Versus for a big night of NHL action, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for something different. The long-awaited renaming of Versus is coming on January 2, 2012 and since NBC’s merger with Comcast, Versus is getting a visible upgrade in changing the name from Versus to NBC Sports Network.

The timing of the name change is no secret as there’s plenty of big time events going on at the start of the year with the conclusion of the NFL season on January 1, as well as NBC’s Sunday Night Football. January 2 brings the NHL Winter Classic from Philadelphia and the NFL Playoffs begin on January 7 with the Wild Card round.

For us hockey nuts, of course, the national broadcast package for the NHL is on Versus and having the channel switch names to NBC Sports Network means that you’ll get to see Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire and the host of others flying the NBC flag not just on Sundays but during the week as well.

Many of you have been curious just what Versus would be named when the merger happened earlier this year, and now you’ve got your answer. It all starts anew on January 2.

  1. saintez - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Will it be on direct tv? We couldn’t get a second round playoff game in a sports bar because they had direct tv….

  2. dcent87 - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    I hate doc e…this sucks

    • aiguier1791 - Aug 1, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      I can’t stand Emrick either. Screechy voice, I have to run the volume down when he calls a game. Spends too much time talking about anything except the game. May be the most irritating play-by-play man I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching hockey since 1967. I have gone so far as to try listening to the radio version online except this lags several seconds. Other times just mute the sound. Would rather watch Canadian version of game next day on NHL Network.

      And I hope the coverage moves beyond the explaining-the-offside-rule approach you get when the game is on the main network. But since the League is locked in with this deal for the next seven years I’d rather see the V rebranded as NBC Sports Net. Maybe they’ll add a late game from the coast, someone else would have to call that, right?

      I don’t give a flip about up, down, or sideways thumbs, just my 2¢.

  3. nhlbruins90 - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    It’s a logical name. Not creative, but logical. I guess it involved lots of studies and such. Probably long meetings at headquarters to hash out all the details. After all those man-hours though, we finally have it. It’s a NETWORK of SPORTS media all affiliated with NBC. It’s got the peacock, some neat fonts and it’s on a black background. Great! A job well done. Now, on to curing cancer.

  4. donttouchthedirtypenny - Aug 1, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Aiguier you are DEAD ON about both Emerick and the NBC broadcasts. Emerick spends too much time talking about some crappy anecdote and then setting up Olcyzk to explain icing. And don’t forget how Olcyzk must YELL and SCREAM his points, which is usually some misdirected criticism. Look Eddie, we get it: you were a crappy NHL coach for a couple years and you were fired because you couldn’t win with Crosby. And once NBC presents the game in an adult manner, everyone will benefit. No need to explain every basic rule to us as if we’re 5 years old. Most of the viewers know hockey, and the ones who don’t that are interested enough to learn can always log on to the Internet. Bring over Gary Thorne and rehire Bill Clement. Best hockey duo of the past 25 years.

    • nhlbruins90 - Aug 1, 2011 at 7:33 PM

      I agree, Gary Thorne is the best. Clement … so, so.

      If you guys would just give Jack Edwards a chance, I swear you would love him. (Just kidding, I know he’s a very local flavor.)

    • mgp1219 - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      Tom Mees (ESPN) was actually the best before he died several years back. Thorne is much like him.

  5. Joe Yerdon - Aug 1, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Guys, there’s a saying that goes, “Don’t poop where you eat.”

    Keep it in mind.

  6. donttouchthedirtypenny - Aug 1, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Bruins90 I’m with you on Edwards. I don’t live in Boston but I have seen some NESN broadcasts and he and Brickley are excellent. I also think Edwards did some VS (or OLN) games way back when. And I liked him on SportsCenter in the 90s.

    • nhlbruins90 - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:27 AM

      I remember Jack Edwards when he was a local sports reporter here in Boston, but I forgot he was ever on SportsCenter. I’ll admit he’s a bit of a homer, but for the local broadcast, that’s not the worst thing in the world. Most important, he’s got personality. Excitable, animated, passionate, creative, thoughtful, memorable. These are the kind of words that describe a good broadcaster to me.

      I remember during the playoffs, Johnny Boychuck scored a goal on a slapper from the point. It was a big,pivotal goal. Jack Edwards screamed and growled at the top of his lungs “… it’s a Johnny Rocket!!!” I was laughing for 5 minutes after that one. Brickley is a good foil for Edwards too. NESN generally does a good job.

  7. donttouchthedirtypenny - Aug 1, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Mr. Yerdon, sorry to upset you; however, perhaps the feedback could be passed on and used to improve the telecast? At a minimum, please bring the in-game discussions to an expert level.

    • nhlbruins90 - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:43 AM

      The in-studio show needs work. Jeremy Roenick was a much-needed addition to the cast. Engblom is better on the ice and out of the studio. Jonsey is competent, but I don’t particularly like him. The host (forget his name) is a boring stiff. Guess that’s why I forget his name.

      It was good to see ‘little Billy Piedto’ (as Barry Melrose would say) in the VS studio. Liam McHugh is good, and NBC obviously knows it.

      Most important for the studio crew is to get people who know hockey and have real chemistry together. You can’t fake that, and when you find it … it’s gold. John Buccigrass (sorry for the spelling) and Barry Melrose had it on NHL2night back when. That show looked like it cost 10 bucks to produce, but it was always a fun 30 minutes of late-night TV. I usually watched that show over Letterman. VS still hasn’t found that magic formula yet, but they’re getting closer.

  8. hockeyfan1701 - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    So many haters……

  9. bigtull - Aug 2, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    I just hope it means Hockey 7 days a week and more games from the Western Conference.

    • nhlbruins90 - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:46 AM

      Hockey 7 days a week. I could go for that.

  10. comeonnowguys - Aug 2, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    I don’t care what the **** they call it, just get it on a lower tier on Dish Network. I can get ESPN all the way up to “The Ocho,” CBS Sports (Which lately has acted like “The Ocho”) and even the two most money grubbing networks, NFLN and Big Ten.

    However, apparently the stuff on VS/NBCS is so high-quality that I’d have to shell out for the uber-super-tier-so-you-can-watch-lebanese-news-rebroadcasted-in-new-zealand-with-chinese-overdubs-and-english-subtitles.

  11. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 7, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    The NHL should’ve signed with ESPN when they had the chance. NHL 2 Nite was one of my favorite shows of all time. Hockey will get such a boost in the viewership column. One can dream. Bettman needs to wake up.

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