Not that anything’s really changed but as of today, regional viewers in California have two new networks in their lineup. NBC Sports Bay Area replaces CSN Bay Area, and NBC Sports California replaces CSN Sports as well. There will be new branding, new graphics, and… that’s about it.
It’s an admission that words really do matter. Comcast’s name isn’t popular among non-Comcast subscribers (heck, a lot of their own subscribers don’t like them much either) while the NBC name is a lot more neutral. CSN networks used to be referred to as “Comcast SportsNet” but the “SportsNet” name is now associated with Spectrum, one of Comcast’s competitors. Not only that, Spectrum’s “SportsNet” channels have been the subject of a lot of controversy — their out-of-this-world rates have kept viewers in Southern California from watching their Dodgers.
So, the move makes sense on many levels. While it only applies to Northern California for now, expect Comcast officials to watch carefully, with an eye on converting other CSN properties.