Universal Sports was an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network. It was owned as a joint venture between InterMedia Partners (which owned a controlling 92% interest) and NBCUniversal (which owned the remaining 8%).
|Closed||November 16, 2015|
|Slogan||Where Champions are Made.|
|Headquarters||Woodland Hills, California|
|Formerly called||World Championship Sports Network (2006–2008)|
|Replaced by||Olympic Channel (2017; Universal HD carried existing contracts between 2015-2017)|
The channel was launched in 2006 as World Championship Sports Network (WCSN); it was co-founded by Claude Ruibal (who served as its chairman and chief executive officer) and Tom Hipkins (who served as a member of the channel's board of directors), with the help of Carlos Silva (its president and chief operating officer). One of the first events broadcast by WCSN was coverage of the United States Track and Field Championships via streaming video.
In 2007, InterMedia Partners gained a majority ownership interest in the network. By March 2008, WCSN began to be carried on broadcast television, through the digital subchannels of several stations owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation.
NBC Universal entered into a partnership with InterMedia in which the former acquired a minority interest in the channel; in addition, on June 16, 2008, the network was rebranded as Universal Sports, incorporating a new logo with the NBC peacock. By November 2008, all 10 of NBC's owned-and-operated stations had begun carrying the network on one of their digital subchannels. Universal Sports offered carriage on broadcast stations on a channel lease basis until 2011, with the provision that the stations strike deals with cable providers in their markets to carry the network by January 31, 2009. If a station failed to obtain cable carriage, the network had the right to move its affiliation to another station in that market that would be able to gain cable carriage. The network was being shopped to NBC-affiliated stations until December 1.
On June 17, 2010, Universal Sports, along with the International Rugby Board, announced that the channel would bring "unprecedented national television and digital media coverage of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments".
On October 22, 2015, it was announced that Universal Sports would close down on November 16, 2015, and that NBC Sports would inherit the network's portfolio of sports rights for its own networks (such as NBC, NBCSN and Universal HD). The channel shut down at 6AM on that day; with the documentary "5 Peaks in a Day from Switzerland" being the network's last program. On July 1, 2017, the United States Olympic Committee and the NBC Sports Group launched the Olympic Channel, effectively serving as Universal Sports' eventual replacement channel.
On June 15, 2011, DirecTV added Universal Sports as a national basic channel. The carriage agreement with DirecTV led NBCUniversal and Intermedia to announce on September 12, 2011, that it would transition Universal Sports into a cable- and satellite-exclusive service (effectively dropping its over-the-air affiliates) by January 2012. On January 1, 2012, Universal Sports was dropped by most cable providers as a result of a protracted battle to get them to offer the service as a premium channel. One of the providers to drop the channel was Comcast, the nation's largest cable company and part-owner of Universal Sports' co-parent NBCUniversal at the time (it would later acquire the remaining ownership interest held by General Electric in 2013)
The channel had long-term broadcasting agreements with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Cycling Union (UCI), the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG), the International Rowing Federation (FISA), the International Ski Federation (FIS), the International Swimming Federation (FINA), and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
The channel provided year-round coverage of events that generally receive attention every few years. Through television carriage and internet streaming, viewers were provided an in-depth look at how Olympic athletes compete between the games. Universal Sports promoted itself as "the athlete's network," and extended its coverage through blogs and interviews outside of competition. As reported by Olympic news outlet Around the Rings, Universal Sports and Infront Sports and Media announced an exclusive media rights agreement for the International Ski Federation World Cup events beginning with the 2011-2012 season.
VTB United League Promo-Cup 2008 was the first test run tournament of the VTB United League. The tournament was held during the 2008–09 basketball season on 20–22 December 2008, at the CSKA Universal Sports Hall in Moscow. The tournament included 8 teams from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.
CSKA Moscow won the tournament by defeating Khimki Moscow Region in the final. Kiev finished in third place by defeating Dynamo Moscow.2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
The 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships were held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Organised by USA Track and Field, the four-day competition took place from June 23–26 and served as the national championships in track and field for the United States. The results determined qualification for the American team at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, to be held in Daegu.
The competition was broadcast on television by three networks: ESPN2, Universal Sports and NBC.2013 World Championships in Athletics
The 14th IAAF World Championships in Athletics (Moscow 2013) was an international athletics competition held in Moscow, Russia, from 10–18 August 2013. Initially, Russia won the most gold medals to top the table for the first time since 2001. It was also the first time ever the host nation took the top of the medal table. However, after disqualification of Russian sprinter Antonina Krivoshapka for doping and following redistribution of medals in the Women's 4 × 400 metres relay (as well as after series of other disqualifications of Russian athletes for doping offences), United States topped the medal table with eight golds. In the overall medal count, the United States won 26 medals in total, followed by Kenya with 12. With 1,784 athletes from 203 countries it was the biggest single sports event of the year. The number of spectators for the evening sessions was 268,548 surpassing Daegu 2011.Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce both won three gold medals in the men's and women's 100 metres, 200 metres and 4×100 metres relay respectively to become the most successful athletes at the event. This achievement also earned Bolt the title of being the most successful athlete in the history of the World Championships with eight gold and two silver medals. Prior to the competition, four sprinters were banned on doping charges.2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships
The 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics was the fifteenth edition of the international indoor track and field competition, organised by the IAAF. The event was held between 7–9 March 2014 at the Ergo Arena in Sopot, Poland.2016–17 SEHA League
The 2016–17 season was the sixth season of the SEHA (South East Handball Association) League and third under the sponsorship of the Russian oil and gas company Gazprom. Ten teams from seven countries (Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Slovakia and Slovenia) participated in that year's competition.
Telekom Veszprém were the defending champions. The SEHA League was consisted of two phases – the first has 18 rounds in which all teams play one home and one away game against each other. After that, the four best ranked clubs played on the Final Four tournament.
The campaign began on 30 August 2016 with the match between last year's runner up Vardar and fourth placed Meshkov Brest. The regular season ended on 16 March 2017, with the decisive match between PPD Zagreb and Meshkov Brest.
The Final Four tournament was held in the city of Brest and organised in cooperation with Meshkov Brest, from 7 April to 9 April 2017.2018–19 SEHA League
The 2018–19 SEHA League season was the eighth season of the SEHA (South East Handball Association) League and fifth under the sponsorship of the Russian oil and gas company Gazprom. Ten teams from seven countries (Belarus, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania) were participating in this year's competition.Vardar were the defending champions. The SEHA League consists of two phases – the first one has 18 rounds in which all teams played one home and one away games against each other. Afterwards, the four best ranked clubs played on the Final Four tournament.
Final four tournament was held in Brest, Republic of Belarus, on 2nd and 3rd of April. RK Vardar defeated PPD Zagreb 26–23 in the final to win their fifth title.Alexander Gomelsky Universal Sports Hall CSKA
Alexander Gomelsky Universal Sports Hall CSKA, also known as USH CSKA, and formerly known as CSKA Palace of Sports, is a multi-purpose indoor sporting arena that is located in Moscow, Russia. It is a part of the CSKA Sports Complex. The arena is primarily used to host basketball and futsal games, but it can also be used to host boxing matches, volleyball games, handball games, tennis, gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, wrestling, fencing, martial arts, and other sports. The arena can also be used for dancing and other entertainment events. The seating capacity of the arena for basketball games 5,500 people.
The arena is named in honor of the late Alexander Gomelsky, the former head basketball coach and honorary president of CSKA Moscow Basketball Club.Dick Ebersol
Duncan "Dick" Ebersol (; born July 28, 1947) is an American television executive and a senior adviser for NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.He had previously been the chairman of NBC Sports, producing large-scale television events such as the Olympic Games and National Football League (NFL) broadcasts.InterMedia Partners
InterMedia Advisors, LLC (a..k.a. InterMedia Partners), is a private equity investment firm focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in the media sector.
The firm, which was founded in 2005 by notable private equity investor Leo Hindery, is based on the 48th floor of the Chrysler Building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.Until 2014, firm's most notable investments were through its InterMedia Outdoor Holdings media company subsidiary which included Thomas Nelson, Hemisphere Media Group, Universal Sports, Control Room, Aspire, BlackBook Media, @Home Network, Sportsman Channel, Cinelatino, Soul Train Holdings, Vibe Lifestyle Network, Pasiones, Television Dominicana, CentroAmerica TV, Up, WAPA América and Puerto Rican station WAPA-TV. The firm sold the division to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment which renamed the company Outdoor Sportsman Group.NBC Sports Group
NBC Sports Group is a division of NBCUniversal that is responsible for NBC Sports' media properties, encompassing the NBC television network's sports division as well as day-to-day operation of the company's sports-oriented cable networks and other properties such as NBC Sports Radio.Olympic Channel
Olympic Channel is an over-the-top Internet television service operated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was launched on 21 August 2016, alongside the closing of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The service aims to maintain year-round interest in the Olympic movement, by showcasing Olympic athletes and competitions outside of the Games proper.
The IOC operates the service with an international focus, but also stated plans to work with local National Olympic Committees and rightsholders to establish localized versions and linear services as franchised versions of Olympic Channel. The first of these, in the United States, launched in July 2017.PBC CSKA Moscow
PBC CSKA Moscow (Russian: ПБК ЦСКА Москва) is a Russian professional basketball team based in Moscow, Russia. The club is a member of the VTB United League and the EuroLeague. CSKA won two titles between 2006 and 2008, as well as between 2016 and 2019, in Europe's principal club competition, the EuroLeague, making the final in all seasons these years, and in total has advanced to the EuroLeague Final Four 17 times in the 21st century.CSKA is dominating in VTB United League, winning all but one titles up-to-date. With 8 EuroLeague championships, one NEBL championship, 50 home league championships, 7 home cups and 10 VTB United League titles in total, CSKA is the most successful basketball team in Russia (former Soviet Union), and is also one of the most successful basketball teams in Europe.
In EuroLeague in 2006 CSKA won its first title in a long time, defeating Maccabi 73-69 in the final in Prague. Next year the team lost in the 2007 final 93–91 to Panathinaikos on the Greens' home floor, the Nikos Galis Olympic Indoor Hall in Athens. In 2008, they won a rematch of the 2006 final against Maccabi 91–77 in Madrid. In 2009, they lost a rematch of the 2007 final against Panathinaikos 73–71 in Berlin. The club competed in 8 consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours from 2003 to 2010, which is an all-time record. CSKA then won its seventh title in 2016, after beating Fenerbahçe in the final, by a score of 101–96, in overtime. The last European title up-to-date was won in 2019, when CSKA defeated Anadolu Efes in the final in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Well-known players that have played for the club over the years include: Sergei Belov, Gennadi Volnov, Viktor Zubkov, Yuri Korneev, Vladimir Andreev, Anatoly Myshkin, Stanislav Yeryomin, Ivan Edeshko, Alzhan Zharmukhamedov, Sergei Tarakanov, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Vladimir Tkachenko, Sergei Bazarevich, Sasha Volkov, Andrei Kirilenko, Trajan Langdon, Darius Songaila, Gordan Giriček, Dragan Tarlać, Marcus Brown, Matjaž Smodiš, Sergei Panov, Aleksey Savrasenko, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Theo Papaloukas, Nenad Krstić, J. R. Holden, Miloš Teodosić, Victor Khryapa and Nando de Colo. Also, Alexander Gomelsky, the legendary basketball coach, worked in CSKA for nearly 20 years, turning it into a powerhouse. Nowadays, CSKA has the reputation for being one of the richest sports clubs in Europe, having been previously owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, and being currently owned by Norilsk Nickel.Parma Basket
Parma Basket (Russian: БК Парма) is a professional basketball team that is based in Perm, Russia. It plays in the VTB United League, the highest level of basketball in Russia. The club's full name is Parma Basket Perm. The name is unrelated with the Italian city of Parma.Russian Indoor Athletics Championships
The Russian Indoor Athletics Championships (Russian: Чемпионат России по лёгкой атлетике в помещении) is an annual indoor track and field competition organised by the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF), which serves as the Russian national championship for the sport. It was first held in 1992, following the independence of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and replacing the Soviet Indoor Athletics Championships. It is typically held as a three-day event in the Russian winter around mid to late February. The venue of the championships is usually in Moscow or Volgograd. A total of 24 athletics events are on the current programme, divided evenly between the sexes.
The first edition of the event in 1992 was poorly attended by the nation's best athletes, as a CIS Indoor Championships was also held the same year and was involved with international selection for the Unified Team.SEHA League
South East Handball Association League or simply SEHA League is a regional men's club handball league in Southeast Europe, featuring teams from Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. Due to sponsorship reasons, the league is also known as the Gazprom League (or Gazprom South Stream League earlier). The league exists alongside scaled-down national leagues of the participating nations and all of SEHA League teams join their respective country's own competitions in late spring after the SEHA League regular season and post-season have been completed. The league's headquarters are in Zagreb, Croatia, and the league's president is Mihajlo Mihajlovski Vardar's ex-chairman. 2011–12 was the first season of the competition, with Vardar from Skopje becoming the first champions.Universal Sports Palace Molot
Universal Sports Palace Molot (Russian: Универсальный Дворец спорта Молот) is an indoor sporting arena that is located in Perm, Russia. It has a seating capacity of 7,000 spectators for basketball, and 6,000 spectators for ice hockey.WDEM-CD
WDEM-CD is a Class A television station located in Columbus, Ohio, licensed to broadcast locally on digital channel 24 (virtual channel 17). It ceased broadcasting in May 2011 and resumed sometime before August 1, 2013. It is owned by HC2 Station Group.WJFW-TV
WJFW-TV is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, United States and serving north-central Wisconsin, including Wausau. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (or virtual channel 12 via PSIP) from a transmitter in Starks. Owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting, the station has studios on County Road G (along WIS 17) in Rhinelander.
Since WJFW's transmitter is located further north than the other north-central Wisconsin stations, it can only be seen in Wausau proper and not other areas in Marathon County to the south and west. Therefore, it operates a low-powered digital fill-in translator in Wausau (W27AU-D). This also airs a high definition signal but is seen on UHF channel 27 (also mapping to virtual channel 12 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Mosinee Hill southwest of the I-39/US 51/WIS 29 interchange.WMNN-LD
WMNN-LD is a low-powered NewsNet owned-and-operated television station licensed to Lake City, Michigan, serving the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It broadcasts a high-definition digital signal on UHF channel 14 (or virtual channel 26 via PSIP) from a transmitter east of Cadillac off M-55. Owned by Freelancer Television Broadcasting, WMNN-LD is a sister station to dual MyNetworkTV/Cozi TV affiliate WXII-LP (analog channel 12).
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