A Comcast Corp. regional sports network will assume sports coverage for an NBC TV station in northern California, the first case of the cable company's sports content replacing a traditional sports report at an NBC broadcast affiliate.
NBCUniversal will examine whether similar synergies exist in other markets where it owns a local TV station and a regional sports network, including Philadelphia, where the company owns NBC10.
Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, acquired 51 percent control of NBCUniversal in January.
The move at KNTV, which covers San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, is part of a sweeping review inside NBCUniversal of its operations since former Comcast executive Steve Burke assumed the top position at the New York-based news and entertainment company.
The Comcast regional sports networks fall under Jon Litner, a former Comcast executive who is based in Philadelphia but reports to NBCUniversal.
Using the regional sports network for the KNTV newscast seems to make economic sense and should improve sports coverage, officials say. Though TV news staffs have faced constant cost pressures in recent years, Comcast's regional sports networks have been expanding through control of local rights to professional teams. Comcast has about 140 people on staff at its northern California sports network.
"Initially, this is limited to the Bay Area, where there is already a production partnership between the two outlets. We will evaluate ways that outlets in other markets can work together on a case-by-case basis," Comcast spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said Wednesday.
According to a statement, the Comcast sports network will provide live daily sports-news segments "that will be seamlessly included in the station's" nightly newscasts. The changes are not expected to result in layoffs, the company said.