NBC Sports Group President Dick Ebersol has resigned from his position, according to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. He'll be replaced by Mark Lazarus, who was recently named the head of the cable side of the NBC Sports Group, overseeing the VERSUS network, Golf Channel and local Comcast SportsNet channels. He reported directly to Ebersol in that role.
The Times report says that Ebersol couldn't come to an agreement with the company on a new contract, which raises the possibility that he didn't quite get along with his new bosses after Comcast purchased a majority stake in NBC Universal.
Ebersol, 63, has been at the helm of NBC Sports since 1989. He first popped onto the sports television landscape much earlier, joining ABC Sports as a researcher in 1967 -- while still in college. Since taking over atop NBC Sports, though, he's shaped the network's sports coverage, primarily through coverage of the Olympics.
Thanks largely to his leadership, NBC has been able to secure the rights to both the Summer Olympics in every year since 1988 and the Winter Olympics in every year since 2002. That includes recent deals for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Games.
Negotiations for a deal on the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Russia are still not complete, and with Ebersol out of the picture, it's widely believed that NBC loses much of its leverage in those discussions. Sandomir's report says that he'll be sticking around until June, but that he won't be attending negotiations.
Following the Comcast acquisition, Ebersol took control of not just NBC Sports, but the entire new "NBC Sports Group," consisting of several powerful regional sports networks, up-and-coming sports network VERSUS, Golf Channel and others properties. He facilitated a new 10-year pact with the NHL in this new position, thanks in part to a close relationship with Commissioner Gary Bettman.
That's apparently the last deal he brokered for NBC. He's gone, and it's a major shift in the sports television landscape.