NBC Network Name Change; Memorabilia Auction; Atlanta 15th

(ATR) A new name for NBC sports net ... 1936 memorabilia for auction ... Atlanta bombing 15 years ago ...

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VERSUS Gets Name Change

The television channel VERSUS will become NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, 2012.

Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, announced the change today at a Television Critics Association conference in Los Angeles.

"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," said Lazarus.

The new name and logo, which includes the classic NBC peacock image, is part of strategy to bring all four tiers of its assets under one branding framework.

"We want anyone who comes into contact with any of our assets to immediately connect with the NBC Sports brand promise," said Lazarus.

The new logo will include some small changes that mark a big move for NBC Sports, said John Miller, chief marketing officer of NBCUniversal Television Group.

"The re-brand effort afforded us the opportunity to modernize the NBC Sports logo … The changes are subtle, but signal a big change: a new beginning for the NBC Sports Group," said Miller in a news release.

The Jan. 2 start date was selected to coincide with several winter sporting events, including the conclusion of week 17 "Sunday Night Football" and the NHL Winter Classic.

Olympic Memorabilia Auction

While many of the world's top Olympic collectors are traveling to Chicago for the World Olympic Collectors Fair, an online auction will be taking place.

Auctioneer David Feldman of Geneva, Hong Kong and New York will offer 312 lots in an online Olympic Games memorabilia sale on Aug 2, beginning at 4 p.m. CET (10 a.m. Eastern time). Most of the lots are from the son of John Loaring, a Canadian athlete who competed in the hurdles at the 1936 Summer Olympics. John Loaring Jr. has the world's largest 1936 Olympic memorabilia collection.

Many lots contain stamps and paper items, including a group of books about the ancient Greeks and Olympia, a poster from the film "Jim Thorpe, All-American," and an official dinner menu from 1920. Many of the items carry estimates of 100 euros or less, with few estimated at more than 200 euros. More expensive items from the Loaring Collection were auctioned in an earlier sale.

For information, go to www.davidfeldman.com.

Media Watch

On the 15th anniversary of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, Atlanta magazine looks back on the event with an oral history that includes a contribution from ATR Editor Ed Hula

BMW North America’s manager of marketing communications Trudy Hardy discusses the benefits and challenges of BMW’s U.S. Olympic Committee sponsorship.

United Arab Emirates publication The National has an article detailing what is next for a Dubai Olympic bid.

Indian sports minister Ajay Maken has a Q&A where he discusses the current impasse with the Indian Olympic Association, India’s preps for 2012, and why despite having a population of 1 billion people, India produces few top athletes.

Written by Ed Hula III.