As part of a new strategy to bring a consistent branding framework across all of its assets, VERSUS will be renamed the NBC Sports Network.
In addition, the NBC Sports Group will implement a redesigned NBC Sports logo.
Both changes will take effect Jan. 2, 2012.
The NBC Sports Network will serve as the NBC Sports Group's 24/7 cable platform. Many NBC Sports production and programming elements have already been introduced on VERSUS since the merger - such as adopting the "Inside the Glass" production philosophy for all its NHL games, and adding horse racing and Notre Dame Football-related programming.
"This effort is a major step towards a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses," NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said. "This is more than just a name change for VERSUS. It's a complete repositioning of the brand to provide value for marketers, consumers as well as all our affiliates and distributors. We want anyone who comes into contact with any of our assets to immediately connect with the NBC Sports brand promise."
A new NBC Sports logo will also be implemented on Jan. 2. The new logo features an evolutionary design of the classic NBC Sports logo
ú The Peacock is slightly larger.
ú The letters "NBC" are still bold but have a new font which puts them in balance with the Peacock.
ú "Sports" maintains its scripted feel, but features a new hand-lettered font exclusively created for NBC Sports.
ú Previously "Sports" was on an angle, but it has been straightened to allow for "Network" to fit easily beneath it and to accommodate the on-air design of commonly used sports tickers.
"The re-brand effort afforded us the opportunity to modernize the NBC Sports logo," said John Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Television Group and head of the NBC Sports Agency. "The changes are subtle, but signal a big change: a new beginning for the NBC Sports Group."
January 2 was chosen as the re-brand date for several reasons, including the number of strategic events with large viewing audiences on NBC within a short timeframe that can be used to call attention to the re-branding:
ú On Sunday, Jan. 1, the NFL's regular-season will conclude with the Week 17 Sunday Night Football.
ú On, Jan. 2, the NHL Winter Classic will be featured on NBC.
ú On Saturday, Jan. 7, NBC Sports will broadcast its traditional NFL Wild Card doubleheader.
ú On Sunday, Feb. 5, Super Bowl XLVI, the most-watched program of the year, will be on NBC.
The re-brand efforts are a continuation of initiatives that began as soon as the NBC Sports Group was formed. In February it was announced that all golf broadcasts on NBC would be re-branded as "Golf Channel on NBC." In April, NBCSports.com absorbed VERSUS.com to create a single, robust online destination for fans.
NBC Sports Group's regional sports networks are not currently scheduled to be re-branded, however, Lazarus said "many will evolve to have the look and feel of our NBC Sports brand and production values."