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ALL THE WRIGHT STUFF: NBC CEO TALKS FOOTBALL AND ECONOMICS
Published May 6, 1998
NBC President & CEO Bob Wright is featured in a Q&A with Saylor & Eller of the L.A. TIMES. Wright said that NBC gave up its rights to the NFL because the economics of the deal "were so negative that it would foreclose us from doing other things that we thought were more meaningful. We thought it would basically put us in a hammerlock." Wright, on reports of a new football league involving GE and Time Warner: "We're still trying to do it. We've got to balance the issues of anger over not having football with creating something that is attractive to us in a network sense, which means we have to be able to generate large enough audiences to make it worthwhile for our own television stations and our affiliates. It can't be a hobby." Wright said that the NFL deal will make it "impossible" for other networks "to make money. ... When Fox put football on, they guaranteed themselves they wouldn't make money" (L.A. TIMES, 5/6). SINGING FROM THE SAME HYMN SHEET: NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, on a Hollywood Reporter report that ABC, Fox, CBS and ESPN could lose $150M-$200M per year on their NFL deals: "I would not be surprised to see those losses become much larger by the fall" (USA TODAY, 5/6).