I’ve always been a fan of sports with more of an international flavor: Aussie Rules Football, darts, rugby, you name it. And barring ESPN televising Premier League Darts this year after Gary Anderson’s dramatic World Championship win over Phil “The Power” Taylor,” this may be the next best thing. Beginning in late January, NBC will debut “Curling Night in America” on NBCSN and the Universal Sports Network. That’s right – “Curling Night in America.” Let that soak in for a moment.
Curling is officially on the rise in America. A couple months ago ESPN announced a deal to televise some of the biggest professional events in Canada on ESPN3 and now NBCSN is getting into the act.
The network teamed together with the curling world to create a special made-for TV event: the US Curling Grand Prix. The competition will feature four men’s and women’s teams and NBCSN will air coverage over the course of two months.
Here’s details from the peacock:
In conjunction with the World Curling Federation, U.S. Curling Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, NBC Sports Group and Universal Sports Network will debut Curling Night In America in 2015, combining to present 24 hours of coverage from the inaugural U.S. Curling Grand Prix on NBCSN and Universal Sports Network.
NBCSN begins its Curling Night In America presentations on Friday, Jan. 23, the first of its six Friday episodes that will air through March. In addition, NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide streaming coverage of all Curling Night In America telecasts airing on NBCSN.
Universal Sports Network will premiere Curling Night In America coverage beginning Thursday, Jan. 22, and continue through Friday, March 13.
NBCSN and Universal Sports Network’s Curling Night In America telecasts will feature eight international teams, comprised of four men’s and four women’s teams from top rinks in the United States, China, Japan and New Zealand, competing in the inaugural U.S. Curling Grand Prix. The event took place on Dec. 4-6 at the Four Seasons Curling Club, a Team USA National Training Center, in Blaine, Minn.
And here’s the schedule for Curling Night in America:
|January 23, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||11 p.m.|
|February 6, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||11 p.m.|
|February 13, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||12 a.m.|
|Feburary 20, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||11 p.m.|
|March 6, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||11 p.m.|
|March 20, 2015||Curling Night In America||NBCSN||11 p.m.|
|January 22, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||2 p.m.|
|January 30, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||2 p.m.|
|February 6, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||4 p.m.|
|Feburary 15, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||6 p.m.|
|February 27, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||6 p.m.|
|March 13, 2015||Curling Night In America||Universal Sports Network||3 p.m.|
Friday night isn’t exactly a premier night for television, but more curling is always a good thing. Given the event was taped in December (which is kind of an incredible blast from the past for a sporting event in 2015: NO SPOILERS, PEOPLE) and the network will get several nights of television out of it, this is a very low-risk venture that probably didn’t cost a lot of money. And with curling’s cult following, it should pick up enough viewers to match whatever non-event coverage NBCSN may have chosen to air.
While it’s not “live” sports necessarily, at least it represents more hours of sports for NBCSN to air on the network. And it certainly fits the network’s profile of trying to own niche sports like the EPL and F1. It’s the next step for the trendy Olympic cult favorite to have more of a dedicated presence more than just every four years. If NBC discovers enough viewers for their Curling Night in America series, hopefully it’s something that we’ll see more of in the future. When curling becomes America’s national sport in 2059 with the abolition of professional football, you can say you got in on the ground floor.