'13 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium: NBC's Lazarus On Olympics Coverage, EPL, Beadle
In a rapid-fire, one-on-one discussion yesterday at the '13 CSE Sports Marketing Symposium, NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus did not shy away from any topic. Among the highlights:
--The '14 Sochi Games, in a far-away time zone: "What we did in London made advertisers comfortable that an alternate-time-zone Olympics still works in the United States." Lazarus added that the programming from Sochi will be live whenever appropriate and on tape when it best serves the needs of the viewer.
--Is Sochi ready for the Olympics? "It's going to be a race against the clock, but they will get done. There is some pretty important infrastructure to be done."
--Will legendary NBC exec Dick Ebersol be at the Olympics? "Dick Ebersol will not be in Sochi. We talk on the phone a lot. He is still a friend to the network and the Olympic games. I will be in the (International Broadcast Center) and in our control room throughout."
--Will NBC Sports report on events surrounding Russia's anti-gay laws during the Olympics? "If there is a demonstration, if an athlete speaks out, we will cover it from a sports perspective. NBC News will also be there to cover it."
--On the ratings success of the EPL: "We're pleasantly surprised. It has out-delivered our expectations."
--On Michelle Beadle's public, negative reaction to the cancellation of "The Crossover": "She's an important part of what we do. That show wasn't, for us, what we wanted it to be. (The decision to cancel) was simply about the show and not about Michelle."
--On not being able to renew a rights deal with the USGA: "We were disappointed. We were very forward and aggressive in our approach. We would rather have it than not have it. But like everything, life goes on. We believe that we are still an important voice in golf."
--His reaction to the USGA saying it partnered with Fox because Fox was innovative: "For the USGA to disparage us for the sake of a press release, I was offended by it."
--On the sports business rights story that he is watching closely: "What's going to happen with the NBA."
For more from the event, see our On The Ground blog.