NBC, Universal Sports join to air Grand Prix of Figure Skating series

NBC Sports and Universal Sports are joining to cover the 2009 International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The Grand Prix final will air Dec. 6. The telecasts are the result of a deal U.S. Figure Skating made with the International Skating Union (ISU) this summer.

NBC is broadcasting 12 hours of live and same-weekend taped coverage of five Grand Prix events in France, Russia, Japan, the United States and Canada, as well as the finals. Universal Sports, which is available to more than 56 million homes, is broadcasting more than 50 hours, including live and near-live showings and encores of the fare featured on NBC.

The agreement marks the first time since 2003 that coverage of nearly all the Grand Prix series events, formerly on ABC, will appear on network television.

The broadcasts are the latest example of NBC and Universal Sports, a joint venture of NBCU and Leo Hindery’s private equity firm, InterMedia Partners, combining to cover Olympic-style sports. The partners previously presented World Gymnastics Championships, AVP Beach Volleyball, the U.S. and World Swimming Championships and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

Evan Lysacek, the reigning 2009 world champion, will be featured in the coverage. Sasha Cohen, seeking a spot on the U.S. team for the Vancouver Olympics in February, is scheduled to compete in Skate America Nov. 15.

NBC Sports will broadcast 10 hours of the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. Universal Sports will supply additional coverage and reairs of the championships.