Comcast’s NBC acquisition gains federal approval

Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo and Notah Begay III on the set at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo and Notah Begay III on the set at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Upcoming changes for Golf Channel and NBC Sports – soon to become one, thanks to federal approval of Comcast’s acquisition of parent NBC Universal – still remain vague.

But it’s clear that the sports properties will at least gain marketing muscle.

Upon the acquisition’s completion, expected within a week or two, NBC plans to create “The NBC Sports Agency,” an in-house group designed to market NBC’s sports assets as well as soon-to-be-integrated Comcast elements such as Golf Channel.

“The NBC Sports Agency will take advantage of the full creative support of NBC Sports, Versus, Golf Channel. . . and create campaigns not only for the individual channels, but also for the NBC Sports Group partners and advertisers,” said John Miller, chief marketing officer for NBC Universal Television Group, in a statement released Jan. 24. Miller, who is credited with creating NBC’s “Must See TV” campaign and branding “Sunday Night Football,” will lead the internal agency.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved Jan. 18 the $30-billion deal that will merge the largest U.S. cable provider and NBC’s vast programming portfolio. However, the approval came with conditions to protect marketplace competition, including guarantees that Comcast wouldn’t block other cable providers from NBC shows.

The NBC Sports-Golf Channel alliance isn’t expected to have an impact on the PGA Tour’s next TV-rights fee deal, which is scheduled to be completed later this year. That’s because Golf Channel has a long-term deal with the Tour and still will be under contract when the negotiations commence.

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