CBS’s Bad Rebranding Decision: “CBS Sportsline” now “CBS Sports”


Broadcasting & Cable reports (via Mashable) that CBS has killed the “Sportsline” name in favour of the shorter, simpler “CBS Sports.”  We’re generally fans of CBS’s recent interactive moves–passing on the NBC/News YouTube Killer, building a syndication strategy, making smart acquisitions–but we’re not crazy about this one.

There’s nothing wrong with changing “CBS Sportsline,” which has never been a particularly powerful brand.  The problem with the new name is that “CBS Sports” already has powerful a brand association–specifically television coverage of selected sporting events, especially NFL football.  What “CBS Sports” doesn’t connote is a web site at which people can find in-depth coverage of all sports.

Could it ever develop that resonance?  Yes, but only if CBS puts a huge amount of effort into rebranding (and only by diluting the brand association “CBS Sports” already has).  And even then success would be challenging: As countless TV network forays over the past 12 years have shown, TV brands just don’t help much online.  As counter-intuitive as it sounds, we think CBS might have been better off dropping the “CBS” portion of the name–and then feeding the new, improved “Sportsline” with exclusive CBS video.