SBJ/Sept. 1-7, 2014/Olympics

NBC Sports to play host to execs from USOC, NGBs in Seattle

NBC Sports is bringing together top U.S. Olympic Committee and national governing body executives this week in Seattle to discuss challenges facing Olympic sports and ways to address them. 

The first-time event was put together by NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel and USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun. It comes less than four months after NBC signed a record $7.75 billion deal with the International Olympic Committee that will see the network broadcast every Olympics through 2032. 

Leaders of the national governing bodies are expected to arrive in Seattle on Wednesday night and will attend a casual dinner with NBC and USOC executives. The next day they have been asked to give 10-minute speeches on challenges they face and ways they believe NBC could help address those. That night the group will attend the opening game of the NFL season at CenturyLink Field. 

“It’s great that they want to know the challenges of the [national governing bodies],” said Darrin Steele, CEO of USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “It shows they’re interested in being great partners and identifying opportunities to bring interest and audiences to sports. That should help their ratings and help the exposure of our sports.” 

NBC and the USOC declined to comment. 

The leaders attending the event include: USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus; USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel; U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association CEO Tiger Shaw; USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean; USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender; and U.S. Speedskating President Mike Plant. 

The USOC and national governing body leaders will gather soon for the annual U.S. Olympic Assembly. Usually, Zenkel and other NBC Olympics executives, such as Peter Diamond, senior vice president of programming, and Brett Goodman, senior vice president of strategic partnerships, attend the assembly and meet with leaders of the organizations. In the wake of NBC’s two-decade commitment to the Olympics, Zenkel wanted to do something different. The game in Seattle, to be broadcast by NBC, gave the company a chance to do that.

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