This just in from NBC Sports, the new team that will head up the network plus Versus, Golf Channel and the Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks. There’s a lot to digest here.
In short, Jamie Davis who ran Versus is out, but has been reassigned within the company. Sam Flood, Executive Producer of NBC Sports, will add Versus to his portfolio. Mark Lazarus, a former Turner Sports executive, will become President of the new NBC Sports Group. And Emperor Dick Ebersol who is the Chairman of NBC Sports remains the Emperor.
Here’s the announcement.
Mark Lazarus Named President, NBC Sports Cable Group
Jon Litner heads VERSUS and SportsNets; Mike McCarley leads Golf Channel
NEW YORK – February 2, 2011 – The executive leadership team of the newly formed NBC Sports Group – which consists of NBC Sports, Golf Channel, VERSUS, 11 Comcast SportNets (regional sports networks) and their digital assets – was announced today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.
“People are the most important part of any organization and the experience, talent and leadership ability of this group is second to none,” said Ebersol. “As we formed the new NBC Sports Group by combining the storied history and broad reach of NBC Sports with Comcast’s 24/7 ability to super-serve the fan, it was imperative to create a leadership team that possessed a wide array of experience and expertise across the business. I could not be happier with this group of collaborative leaders and I feel that our division is well positioned going forward.”
In November it was announced that Ebersol would serve as Chairman of the NBC Sports Group pending completion of the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction, which occurred last week. The new leadership structure takes effect immediately.
Ken Schanzer, a 30-year veteran of NBC Sports, who has been Ebersol’s second-in-command for most of the past two decades, continues in his role as President, NBC Sports and becomes the lead negotiator for all NBC Sports Group partnership agreements. Gary Zenkel remains President, NBC Olympics and Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, NBC Sports, and will now lead the NBC Sports Group Olympic business across all platforms and continues to have business oversight of all digital business. Today’s announcement places Mark Lazarus, Jon Litner, Mike McCarley, Jon Miller and Sam Flood in new roles in the newly formed leadership team.
Mark Lazarus, a 19-year cable industry veteran and former Turner Entertainment Group president, has been named President, NBC Sports Cable Group. He will oversee Golf Channel, VERSUS and the 11 Comcast SportNets, and report directly to Ebersol. Lazarus has worked with every major sports league, Hollywood studio and major advertiser and, as head of Turner Sports, led the network’s acquisition of the rights to the NBA, NASCAR, MLB playoffs, Wimbledon and the British Open, as well as the digital rights to NASCAR.com, PGATOUR.com, and PGA.com. Most recently, Lazarus was the President of Career Sports & Entertainment (CSE) based in Atlanta. Lazarus will relocate from his home in Atlanta to NBCUniversal’s New York corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Jon Litner, Comcast Sports Group President, has been promoted to President, VERSUS and SportsNet. Litner, a sports television executive for most of the past two decades with both network and cable experience, joined Comcast in 2005 when he launched SportsNet New York (SNY). Prior to launching SNY, he was the Executive Vice President/COO of the National Hockey League from 1999 to 2005, where he managed U.S. and Canadian broadcasting, digital media, public relations, special events, new business development, game scheduling and in-house television production. He served as Senior Vice President, Programming for ABC Sports prior to the NHL. He reports to Lazarus and will continue to be based at Comcast corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
Mike McCarley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Promotion and Communications, NBC Sports, has been promoted to President, Golf Channel. McCarley has worked alongside Ebersol for more than a decade and has been his close confidant and advisor on many matters pertaining to NBC Sports over the past several years. He is credited with developing NBC Sports’ ‘big-event strategy’ that has resulted in record television audiences for NBC Sports properties including the Olympics, NFL, Kentucky Derby and NHL. He reports to Lazarus and will relocate from 30 Rockefeller Plaza to the Golf Channel studios in Orlando, Fla.
Jon Miller, Executive Vice President, NBC Sports, has been promoted to President, Programming, NBC Sports and VERSUS. Miller, an NBC Sports veteran for 26 years, is known as a savvy and creative programmer. He is credited with creating the NHL Winter Classic and leads NBC Sports Ventures, a unit that generates income from non-traditional revenue streams by acquiring and developing new and existing sports properties. He continues to report to Schanzer for NBC Sports and now reports to Lazarus for VERSUS. Miller remains at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Jamie Davis, former President, VERSUS, will continue to work with Lazarus on strategy and planning for the NBC Sports Group as he assesses potential roles within the Comcast family.
Sam Flood, named only the seventh Executive Producer in NBC Sports history last June, has been promoted to Executive Producer, NBC Sports and VERSUS. Flood began his career at NBC as an Olympic researcher in 1986. In addition to his Executive Producer duties, Flood currently produces NBC Sports’ critically acclaimed NHL coverage and “Football Night in America.” He continues to report to Ebersol and remains at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Interesting. The team is in place and we’ll see where NBC Sports/Versus heads from here.