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Dick Ebersol, Unable To Come To Terms On New Contract, Quits NBC Sports

Few people in television today have the stature and living-legend-ness of Dick Ebersol, who’s run NBC Sports since 1989 and who has reportedly resigned today after failing to reach agreement on a new contract. The New York Times cites sources close to the negotiations who say Ebersol pushed hard for certain parts of a new contract, including salary requirements, but new majority owners Comcast resisted. The Times reports Ebersol’s decision came after a morning meeting with Comcast executives that led to a 10 a.m. meeting where the longtime NBC executive announced to staff he was leaving:

Ebersol’s departure raises immediate questions about whether Comcast will be less aggressive about acquiring the rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will be negotiated in Lausanne, Switzerland, in June. He said that he would not attend the auction, at which ESPN and Fox are expected to be bidders, and that he intended to stay at NBC until the end of June.

Eight years ago he made the winning bid of $2.2 billion for the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2012 London Games. But NBC’s $223 million loss on the 2010 Olympics came at a notably bad time: less than three months after Comcast announced its deal to buy control of NBC Universal from General Electric. The Vancouver loss was by far the most for the eight Olympics on NBC in Ebersol’s tenure.

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