Dick Ebersol Explains Reasons For Resigning From NBC Sports
NBC Sports Group Chair Dick Ebersol said that he decided to leave because NBC Universal “refused to meet his demands for more money and because he was growing tired of his increased bureaucratic duties under the new management.” Ebersol: "There isn't anything here other than a difference in opinion on what I am worth." He added, “I wanted a certain figure," which he said was at "an incredibly high level" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/20). Ebersol had been negotiating a contract extension with NBC Universal President Steve Burke “for months,” but last week he “was sensing a deal might not be done.” Ebersol: “I went to see Mr. Burke [Wednesday], and I said I thought we were here, and it turns out we really aren’t, and I think it would be better if we split. He asked for the night to relook at things, and we met [Thursday] morning, and we were too far apart” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/20).
Ebersol does not believe his departure will impact Comcast’s interest in bidding for the rights to the Olympic Games after '12. Ebersol said of Comcast: "I think they will be all in. I wouldn't be surprised to see (Comcast CEO) Brian Roberts lead the group that goes there (to Switzerland for the June 6-7 rights auction). I fully expect with Roberts there they will have a terrific bid'' (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 5/19). Meanwhile, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he spoke with Roberts, Burke and NBC Sports President Gary Zenkel via phone after news of Ebersol's resignation. Rogge: "The three reiterated the full support of NBC/Comcast for the Olympic movement and the Olympic Games. They said they would come for the bidding. They ... made it very clear that the resignation of Dick had absolutely nothing to do with the bidding” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/20). Today’s N.Y. POST features the headline, "Shocking Ebersol exit creates NBC Olympian chaos" (N.Y. POST, 5/20).