Seeking a ratings edge in local TV news, NBC10 says it will get its sports coverage from the 150-employee Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
The partnership, announced Monday, had been rumored since Comcast Corp. acquired control of NBCUniversal in early 2011. At the time, Comcast said there were synergies between the companies and executives pointed to local sports TV news as one of them.
Beginning in January, Comcast SportsNet will produce and provide complete sports coverage for the NBC10 newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m., said Brian Monihan, president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
Comcast's 24-hour regional sports network broadcasts Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers games. NBCUniversal owns NBC10.
NBC10's sports reporter is John Clark, a Wallingford native who joined the station in 2001 as weekend sports anchor. He will move over to the 24-hour Comcast SportsNet and remain the face of NBC10 sports, station president Eric Lerner said Monday.
NBC10 anchor and sports director Vai Sikahema will cover news and major sports stories for NBC10, officials said.
Two NBC10 sports producers will transfer into news jobs and a third employee in the sports area will be let go, Lerner said.
The NBC10 sports report will remain in the same place in the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. That report will now be reported and produced by Comcast SportsNet. NBC10 officials believe that SportsNet programming will be more distinctive than what the station produces presently.
Monihan said that NBC10 would benefit from the "deep relationships" that Comcast SportsNet has developed with local players and coaches.
Comcast/NBCUniversal announced the first arrangement between a Comcast regional sports network and a local NBC station in San Francisco in 2011. That year, the regional cable sports network in Northern California began supplying newscasts to KTNV, which covers San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.