SBJ/September 12-18, 2011/Media

Former ESPN exec Simmelkjaer joins NBC Sports Group

Mark Lazarus continues to build out his executive team at the NBC Sports Group, hiring former ESPN executive Rob Simmelkjaer as a senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and Earl Marshall as chief financial officer.

Simmelkjaer spent 10 years at ESPN, most recently as vice president of international development and corporate projects. At one point, he worked as the assistant to President George Bodenheimer. Since 2007, Simmelkjaer was ESPN’s main contact with the International Olympic Committee, having spent much of the past year putting together ESPN’s bid for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.

Simmelkjaer
Simmelkjaer will work out of NBC’s offices at 30 Rock in Manhattan and report to Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics and executive vice president of strategic partnerships for NBC Sports Group.

Viewers may recognize Simmelkjaer, who had several on-air roles with ESPN. He was an anchor on ESPNews and handled play-by-play duties for some ESPN-produced lacrosse games.

As part of his NBC deal, Simmelkjaer will have an on-air assignment for the London Games next year.
One of Simmmelkjaer’s responsibilities at NBC will be to expand the international footprint of Golf Channel and other international properties.

He will also oversee NBC Sports Group’s minority ownership stake in Universal Sports and majority ownership of the Dew Tour, duties that had been overseen by Jon Miller when he ran the NBC Sports Ventures unit. Miller now is overseeing programming for both NBC Sports and Versus.

NBC Sports Ventures encompasses the Alliance of Action Sports (Alli), the American Century Golf Championship, the ADT Golf Skills Challenge, the Heads Up Poker Championship and the National Dog Show.

Marshall’s move was more expected. He had been the NBC Sports Cable Group’s chief financial officer since January, when Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal became official.

“His experience in both financial matters and rights acquisitions has been and will continue to be a benefit for our group,” Lazarus said in a prepared statement.

Previously, Marshall was senior vice president of finance, strategy and business development for Golf Channel. He also operated as its interim president.

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