May 19, 2011
Ebersol resigns as NBC Sports chief
By Sports Network
NEW YORK -- Dick Ebersol has decided to leave NBC Sports after a brilliant 22-year career at the helm.
There was no official reason given for Ebersol's departure, but the New York Times had reported earlier on Thursday that the legendary sports executive could not reach an agreement on a new contract. The move comes only a few months after Comcast acquired NBC Universal from General Electric.
Ebersol became president of NBC Sports in 1989 and has been one of the most powerful men in sports broadcasting. After the Comcast takeover, Ebersol was named the chairman of the NBC Sports Group, which also includes the Golf Channel and Versus.
"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," Ebersol said in a statement through the company. "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."
During his tenure at NBC, the network has been -- at one time or another -- the broadcast home of Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL and NFL, and it has become synonymous with the Olympics. During the 1995-96 television season, for the only time in history, the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Summer Olympics were telecast by the same network.
NBC has broadcast each Olympics -- Summer and Winter Games -- since 2000, but the rights for the 2014 Winter Games in Russia and the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil will be distributed by the International Olympic Committee in June. Fox and ESPN will be among the bidders for those Games.
In addition to his legendary sports resume, Ebersol also worked with the entertainment division at NBC in the early 1970s and helped Lorne Michaels in the creation of Saturday Night Live, for which he served as executive producer in the early 1980s.
"Dick Ebersol is an incredible talent whose contributions to the company over the last four decades in sports, news and entertainment are unsurpassed," said Comcast CEO Steve Burke. "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."
Mark Lazarus, currently the president of NBC Sports Cable Group, will succeed Ebersol.