Originally published: May 19, 2011
Last updated: May 19, 2011 - 9:37pm
Mark Lazarus, a former high-ranking executive at Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, will succeed Dick Ebersol as the top sports executive at NBCUniversal.
Lazarus was brought in by new NBCUniversal owner Comcast Corp. last December to oversee the media giant's cable sports channels and work on integrating that unit with NBC Sports. When he was first tapped by Comcast, the assumption in the industry was that he would ultimately succeed Ebersol. However, that it happened this soon, less than four months after Comcast closed on its deal to take control of NBCUniversal, was a surprise. Comcast had been working on a new employment agreement with Ebersol, however they could not come to terms on a pact or on Ebersol's future role at the network. In Lazarus, Comcast will have a much lower-profile individual in that role, although also one who has not had the same level of experience in producing major events such as the Olympics.
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. He said that he would not attend the auction, at which ESPN and Fox are expected to be bidders, and that he intended to stay at NBC until the end of June.
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