Int'l Olympic Committee Chief: NBC Will Bid for TV Rights Without Dick Ebersol

4:01 PM PST 05/19/2011 by THR staff
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Dick Ebersol

Jacques Rogge says Comcast's senior executives "reiterated that they were very committed to participating in full at the bidding."

NBC is still planning to bid on U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics next month despite the sudden resignation of NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol on Thursday, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told the Associated Press.

Rogge said he spoke with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and executives Steve Burke and Gary Zenkel via phone after news of Ebersol's resignation broke.

"The three reiterated the full support of NBC/Comcast for the Olympic movement and the Olympic Games," Rogge said. "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.

"They have reiterated that they were very committed to participating in full at the bidding."

Rogge added that the news of Ebersol's departure came as a "shock."

Ebersol, who is being replaced by NBC Sports Cable Group president Mark Lazarus, ran NBC Sports since 1989. He led NBC's Olympic coverage for two decades and signed numerous lucrative broadcast rights deals with the IOC.

His resignation comes 18 days before the IOC opens bids on the U.S. rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics, with the option of a four-games deal through 2020. The two-game package is expected to go for more than $2 billion and could exceed $4 billion for four games.

NBC has broadcast every Summer Olympics from 1988, as well as every Winter Games from 2002.

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