Ebersol Reportedly Has Friction With Comcast Brass Over Olympic Rights Bid
There is “growing friction between” NBC Sports Chair Dick Ebersol and network execs as U.S. television networks “put the finishing touches on Olympic TV rights bids due next month,” according to sources cited by Claire Atkinson of the N.Y. POST. Ebersol is “trying to convince” NBC Universal President & CEO Steve Burke “that an outsized bid for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic games is worth it -- even if it means some red ink is spilled during each of the 17 days of programming.” Ebersol has “headed every US Olympics programming effort” since the ’00 Sydney Games, and every Summer Games TV effort since the ‘88 Seoul Games. NBC has admitted losing money on recent Olympics, and "that's something Comcast, NBC's new cost-conscious owners, are keen to avoid." Another issue “up for debate is when the events are broadcast.” Ebersol has been a "proponent of packaging sports and airing them as live in primetime to maximize ad revenue rather than broadcasting the moment they air.” Atkinson reports if NBC Universal “isn't victorious, some believe Ebersol will opt to retire” (N.Y. POST, 4/18).