NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol is resigning, according to New York Times sports columnist Richard Sandomir. Sandomir reports that Ebersol said he could not come to an agreement on a new contract:
His decision comes several months after Comcast’s takeover of NBC Universal and raises speculation that he clashed with his new corporate bosses, which he denied.
Ebersol’s departure raises immediate questions about whether Comcast will be less aggressive about acquiring the rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will be negotiated in Lausanne, Switzerland, in June.
Ebersol has been in the TV sports game since 1967, when he worked as the first-ever Olympics researcher under the legendary Roone Arledge.
He was named president of NBC Sports in 1989, and has led the division ever since.
“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,” said Ebersol in a statement. “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.
Mark Lazarus will replace Ebersol as the leader of NBC Sports.
Update: It’s official, release from NBC after the jump.
DICK EBERSOL, CHAIRMAN, NBC SPORTS GROUP RESIGNS AFTER A LEGENDARY CAREER AT NBCUNIVERSAL
Mark Lazarus Appointed New Chairman of the Group
NEW YORK — Legendary producer and broadcast executive Dick Ebersol has announced his resignation after a career spanning more than 40 years, the last 22 as the top executive at NBC Sports.
Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal and Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation said: “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.”
Dick Ebersol said, “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.
“It has been a sincere privilege to tell so many remarkable stories that have inspired me throughout my entire career. Some of my favorite memories come from reading letters and talking to viewers who also have been moved by such powerful stories.
I simply want to say thank you to all of those people who have touched me so deeply throughout my career.”
Mark Lazarus, who is currently President, NBC Sports Cable Group, will become the new Chairman of the NBC Sports Group.
Said Burke: “Mark will take over an organization that is well-positioned for growth. Mark is an industry veteran who has worked with every major sports league, and I know that he will do a terrific job leading the team.”