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NBCSN is shutting down, with sports moving to the USA Network later this year

NBCSN on YouTube TV
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

Get ready for a shuffling of live sports in 2021, with NBCUniversal apparently shutting down its NBCSN channel by the end of the year. No press releases have been sent out just yet, but Deadline reports that an internal memo confirms the news.

That'll mean a fairly significant change for live sports like the NHL — whose deal with NBCUniversal was set to expire after the current season — and the British Premier League. The latter regularly has games on NBCSN as well as on the paid tier of the new Peacock streaming service, albeit in lesser quality at just 30 frames per second.

But shutting down NBCSN doesn't mean everything will movie to Peacock. The longstanding USA Network will reap much of the benefits, apparently. And it's no stranger to sports, either, regularly carrying live events like the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and some live PGA Tour golf.

Also up in the air is what any of this might mean for the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled for this summer, having been postponed from 2020. The games were to be a major launch event for the Peacock streaming service. The global pandemic still has those in doubt, however. 

The internal memo, published by Deadline, notes that "this will make USA Network an extraordinarily powerful platform in the media marketplace, and gives our sports programming a significant audience boost."

The memo says to expect USA Network to simulcast or carry directly NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games — the regular season is scheduled to wrap up in May, with the Stanley Cup winner decided by mid-July — as well as NASCAR races.

But there's no set date as yet for NBCSN to go fully dark.

The Peacock service has three tiers — a free tier, a premium tier with exclusive content for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, and then an ad-free plan for $9.99 a month or $99 a year.

The USA Network is available on every major streaming service in the United States, including FuboTV and SlingTV.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.