Versus, Comcast's 24-hour national sports network with studios and head office in Stamford, Conn., has tweaked its programming over the years to find a place in a field dominated by ESPN.
Now 100 of its top managers will do that tweaking in Philadelphia.
Comcast today said it plans to relocate 100 top managers at Versus, formerly Outdoor Life Network, or OLN, to Philadelphia after hockey season.
The employees will take offices in the Comcast Center, part of several hundred people in the programming group occupying four floors of the new building, said Jeff Shell, president of the Comcast programming group. The Versus studios will remain in Stamford, where the company leases production space.
Versus separately announced today that comedian Dennis Miller will host a one-hour weekly show, Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller. The first one-hour show will air Nov. 6. Previously, Miller had done game commentary for Monday Night Football games.
Comcast manages two networks - Sprout and Fearnet - and a portfolio of regional sports networks in Philadelphia, said Shell. "We have critical mass and so we thought that right after the hockey season would be a good time for the move," he said.
Other Comcast networks are the Golf Channel in Orlando, Fla., and E!, G4 and Style in Hollywood. Those networks will remain where they are.
All 100 Versus employees with jobs eliminated in Connecticut will be offered new ones in Philadelphia, Shell said.
Outdoor Life Network was founded in 1995 by Roger Werner and Roger Williams. In its latest version, Versus is focused on hockey, cycling, outdoor sports, and college sports. Outdoor sports account for 15 percent to 20 percent of the programming, Shell said.
Versus' model focuses on niche games and sports and flooding the television with events around certain competitions, such as the Stanley Cup or the Tour de France.
It has acquired 57 regular-season National Hockey League games, a number of playoff games and the first two games of the Stanley Cup championships. It owns the broadcast rights to the Tour de France, and other international cycling competitions. The network also has purchased the rights to professional bull riding competition and college football games.