Big shock in the sports media industry today as it was announced that NBC Sports Group Dick Ebersol has resigned. Reports indicate that Ebersol could not come to agreement on a new contract. Ebersol has been involved in sports telecasts for over 40 years, the last 22 of which have been as the head of NBC Sports.
“Dick Ebersol is an incredible talent whose contributions to the company over the last four decades in sports, news and entertainment are unsurpassed. Dick has masterfully produced everything from the Olympics and Sunday Night Football, to the Triple Crown, NHL games and major golf and tennis events. In the entertainment world, he helped create Saturday Night Live, one of the most significant programs in television. We will miss his intellect, experience, and passion for the television business.” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal and Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation.
“What I have enjoyed most is working so closely with so many truly outstanding and incredibly talented people over decades of producing some of the greatest events in the world. Those relationships are what I cherish most. I have always said this business is about relationships and I have been fortunate enough to have more deep and meaningful friendships than any man could imagine.” said Ebersol.
Ebersol has spearheaded some of the most important programming decisions in the history of the network. They include the return of the NFL to the network in 2005 and the sole network to telecast the Summer and Winter Olympics since 2000.
With Ebersol’s departure it will be interesting to see how Comcast handles negotiations for the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. Those rights are expected to be granted late next month. ESPN is also expected to bid on those rights.
Current NBC Sports Group President Mark Lazarus will succeed Ebersol Chairman.