Comcast SportsNet handling sports for KNTV


In a move following the acquisition of a controlling stake in NBCUniversal by Comcast, the NBC O&O in San Francisco, KNTV, is outsourcing its local sports coverage to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. KNTV is pitching the change as a way to improve the quality of its local sports coverage, leveraging the much larger sports staff of the Comcast regional cable sports channel.

Beginning in June, Comcast SportsNet, now part of the NBC Sports Group, will provide live daily sports news segments for NBC Bay Area (KNTV) that will be seamlessly included in the station’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts. “This relationship allows NBC Bay Area to deliver more comprehensive local sports coverage by utilizing Comcast SportsNet’s resources, which include the area’s largest sports news team, state-of-the-art facilities and deep access to Bay Area teams, players and coaches,” said the station’s announcement.

Even before they came under common ownership, KNTV and Comcast SportsNet were in a partnership that began in 2008 for the broadcast station to use Comcast SportsNet production resources for live San Francisco Giants telecasts.

Rather than cutting staff, the announcement said the new arrangement is expected to result in the creation of several new positions.

“The Bay Area has eight professional franchises, six Division I college teams and millions of passionate, loyal fans. This is one of the country’s greatest sports markets, and the partnership between our two organizations will enable NBC Bay Area to bring our audience more sports content and coverage than ever before,” said Richard Cerussi, NBC Bay Area President and General Manager.

“Comcast SportsNet has made a significant investment to build the largest and most credible multiplatform sports news team in the market. Partnering with NBC Bay Area allows us to leverage our assets for the benefit of both outlets, consistent with our commitment to serve fans wherever they turn for sports developments.” Added Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Vice President and General Manager Ted Griggs.

In addition to sportscasts in more than 700 news programs each year, Comcast SportsNet will provide NBC Bay Area viewers with an array of other local sports content including:

–Weekly NFL postgame analysis featuring Bay Area NFL insiders after every Sunday night football game on NBC Bay Area,

–Special programming surrounding NBC’s Triple Crown horse racing events and NBC’s major golf events, such as the 2012 US Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club,

–Annual season preview and review specials for Bay Area sports teams, and

–Documentaries and magazine shows airing on weekend evenings focusing on Bay Area sports legends and news-makers, human interest stories, and behind-the-scenes looks at life in Bay Area sports culture.

To produce this added content, NBC Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet are constructing a new set in Comcast SportsNet’s 37,000 square-foot HD studios in downtown San Francisco. The sports news content provided by Comcast SportsNet will reflect the look and feel of NBC Bay Area’s newscast and incorporate Comcast SportsNet brand elements in a complementary manner.

Comcast SportsNet’s 140-person local staff annually produces more than 500 live sports events featuring the Giants, A’s, Sharks, Warriors, Kings, Earthquakes and SaberCats, and more than 1,200 hours of live local sports news, debate and analysis, and has been awarded 56 local Emmy Awards for coverage excellence.

KNTV noted that it is the local home for signature national sports events including the Olympics, NFL Sunday Night Football, the 2012 Super Bowl, the NHL Stanley Cup Final and regular-season coverage, the US Open, the Triple Crown, and more.

RBR-TVBR observation: Makes sense to us. As top 10 market network O&Os go, KNTV is almost a start-up operation since NBC bought the station from Granite in 2002, having ended the long time NBC affiliation of KRON at the end of 2001. Why try to get by with a tiny sports staff when another unit of your own company has a local sports staff of 140 people?