[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dick_Ebersol2.jpg”]
Dick Ebersol, the longtime chairman of NBC Sports is resigning, according Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.Ebersol was recently appointed the head of the newly merged NBC/Comcast Sports Group, but apparently could not agree on a contract with the new company.
The timing is especially interesting, as negotiations for the next Olympics TV contract are set to be being next month. Sandomir says Ebersol will not take part.
Ebersol has worked closely with the Olympics for decades, first under Roone Arlidge at ABC and then when both he and Olympics moved to NBC in the 1980s.
NBC had held the Summer Olympics ever since (adding the Winter Games in 2002), but they expect to get a serious challenge (the first in years) from ESPN/Disney and Fox. Ebersol’s experience with the IOC would have been crucial to the negotiations.
However, Ebersol did approval the the $2 billion deal for the last Olympics (Vancouver 2010) that cost the network more than $200 million. He also just re-upped NBC’s NHL contract and re-acquired NFL football for “Sunday Night Football,” which was the popular television program of any kind on the air last fall.