Regional sports network CSN Mid-Atlantic is rebranding as NBC Sports Washington, with the change scheduled to be completed by Oct. 2.
The move is part of a national branding shift for NBC Sports’s regional television networks, with CSN Chicago becoming NBC Sports Chicago, CSN Philadelphia becoming NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN New England becoming NBC Sports Boston, and so on. The company’s California networks — NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California — already made the shift this spring.
The move doesn’t affect the sports department at WRC, which is part of the same corporate family. In fact, the sports network’s content — from live game coverage to studio programming to online coverage — is not expected to change as a result of the rebranding.
But the shift from “Mid-Atlantic” to “Washington” isn’t accidental, and indicates the network’s continued focus on its three current team partners: the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins. The network announced in January that it was not renewing its deal with the Baltimore Ravens, because “the partnership no longer aligns with the network’s business strategy,” and the new name serves as a more accurate descriptor of the network’s content and focus.
CSN Mid-Atlantic, one of the pioneers in regional sports television, launched as Home Team Sports in 1984, later rebranding to HTS. In 2001 it became Comcast SportsNet, a name aligned with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Comcast acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, foretelling this latest shift by turning Versus into the NBC Sports Network. The regional CSN’s integrated NBC’s peacock into their logos and graphics shortly after that acquisition, and this fall’s “NBC Sports” branding completes the evolution.
And what of the Web? The D.C.-area network relaunched its local sports site as CSN Washington in 2009, with a companion CSN Baltimore site arriving the next year. In 2015, those two sites were merged into CSNMidAtlantic.com to reflect the network’s branding. That website — along with the network’s social media channels — will adopt the new NBC Sports Washington branding in October, but until then will not change. (The timing works well for CSN’s primary live-game partners, the Wizards and Capitals, who both begin play not long after the change.)
TCN Mid-Atlantic — an overflow channel available to Comcast subscribers — will become NBC Washington+ under the rebranding. That will also be the name of the network’s overflow channel on other television providers.
SNY, the New York regional sports network that is partially owned by Comcast, will not change its name.