GE has reached an agreement with its partners and is now ready to sell NBC and its cable channels to Comcast for about $30 Billion.
The deal gives Comcast, the the largest U.S. cable TV provider, more venues and more revenue streams to build a sports brand to compete against the Mother Ship, ESPN.
Comcast President Jeff Shell has gone on record as wanting to build a broadcast entity that could combine distribution and programming along the lines of ESPN. Comcast already owns the Versus and Golf Networks, as well as several regional channels. NBC would bring its cable channels to the new company.
Comcast likes the dual revenue stream template that ESPN has laid out, where the WWL gets revenue from advertising as well as cable subscriptions. It's why ESPN has deep enough pockets to go after and get the BCS championship series, and Comcast apparently thinks there is room for another sports network in the market.
NBC has the Olympics, NFL football and of course their Notre Dame contract, which runs through 2015. Comcast has already indicated that they will use the multiple channels to air the same event, perhaps letting viewers see different camera angles on different channels.
If Notre Dame makes the right hire, they will be in prime position to renegotiate a contract more in line with what the SEC and Big 10 members are getting from their lucrative deals. Whoever Notre Dame hires should be able to negotiate with the school to ease up on its admission restrictions in the near future.
If Comcast decides to get into the sports programming business they will need new product. BCS conferences such as the Big 12, ACC and Pac 10 could be the beneficiaries of such a network, since they will be looking for broadcast partners in the near future. ESPN is so heavily invested in the SEC for the next 15 years, that the timing couldn't be better for a new bidder to come on the scene.