Behind the Broadcast: Ebersol’s absence didn’t affect NBC in Olympic bidding process

NBC remains the home for the Olympic Games, despite Dick Ebersol's sudden resignation as chairman of

Last month, it seemed the NBC Sports Group was in turmoil.

The sudden resignation of longtime NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol caught everyone off guard. Ebersol had just put the finishing touches on a 10-year agreement to keep the NHL TV rights with the group, and was preparing to help bid for another round of Olympics broadcast rights.

But negotiations for a new contract with Comcast, which merged with NBCUniversal earlier in the year, broke down. Ebersol left, and it seemed like Comcast was more concerned about saving money than bidding for the Olympics. And that seemed to open the door for FOX and ESPN to outbid NBC.

Well, so much for Ebersol’s departure affecting NBC’s bid.

The network that has become this generation’s TV home for the Olympics won the bidding rights Tuesday for the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games, and the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games.

NBC’s bid was $4.38 billion.

“I can say the Olympics are really in their DNA,” International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said at the press conference announcement. “We’ve been together with them for so many games. with great success.”

You can call this a mild upset, given the fact that Ebersol’s surprise resignation may not have sat well with the International Olympic Committee, which had a great rel­ationship. NBC has been home to the Summer Games since 1988, and the Winter Games since 2002.

But no one knew what to expect from Comcast. Would the media conglomerate look to cut costs, especially after NBC lost over $200 million from televising the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver? And how would the IOC respond to Mark Lazarus, the new NBC Sports Group chairman, and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts?

However, the Olympics are very important to NBC. It’s the network’s identity. Plus, it could offer the IOC more channels to show events live than FOX or ESPN.

Plus, wanting the four-game package helped. FOX submitted two bids, $1.5 billion for two Olympics and $3.4 for all four. ESPN only wanted two Games, most likely the Summer Games, and bid $1.4 billion.

In the end, loyalty and the money convinced the IOC to stay with NBC, which will televise the Summer Games from London next year.

“It is a great thrill to know that NBC’s unsurpassed Olympic her­itage and unprecedented partnership with the IOC will continue through 2020,” Lazarus said in a statement. “The Olympics are a significant part of NBC, and the IOC again recognized NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to promote, market, program and produce the Olympic Games. London, Sochi, Rio and the 2018 and 2020 Games will benefit from our ability to galvanize all the resources of the newly-formed NBC Sports Group to bring the Games to more homes and more platforms than ever.”

School lacrosse finals

The high school lacrosse state championships take place today, and Time Warner Cable Sports will televise all of the action.

TWCS-3 will have the boys’ championships. Action begins at 11 a.m. when Farmingdale, which beat Shenendehowa in Wednesday’s semifinal, meets Ithaca. At 1:30 p.m., Garden City plays Jamesville-DeWitt for the Class B title. The Class C championship game at 4 pits Bayport-Blue Point against Cazenovia.

The girls’ title games will be on TWCS-1. The Class B game is at 9:30 a.m., the Class C matchup is at noon and the Class A game will be played at 2:30 p.m.

Albert back

If the NFL plays this season, Marv Albert will be calling the games again.

CBS announced Monday that Albert has joined the network to be a play-by-play voice for its NFL coverage.

Albert served as the play-by-play voice for Westwood One Radio’s coverage of Monday Night Football from 2002-09 alongside Boomer Esiason. He worked for NBC Sports from 1977-97, announcing the NFL on NBC for 19 years with partners that included Cris Collinsworth, Sam Wyche, Bill Parcells and Paul Maguire. He also did college basketball, boxing, NHL All-Star games, baseball studio and pregame shows. Albert served as the primary play-by-play voice for the NBA on NBC. He rejoined NBC from 2000-02 for its NBA coverage.

Albert had been the play-by-play voice for the New Jersey Nets from 2005-11. Before that, Albert spent 39 years calling the games of the New York Rangers and New York Knicks for MSG.

Albert will continue in his lead role as basketball play-by-play announcer for TNT’s Thursday night NBA regular-season and playoff coverage. He also serves as play-by-play for CBS Sports’ and Turner Sports’ coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Parting shots

NBC13 and NBC13 HD have horse racing’s final Triple Crown-series race, the Belmont Stakes, today at 5 p.m. WTMM-FM (104.5) has the radio coverage at 5. Versus and Versus HD will have the Belmont undercard starting at 3. . . .

Game 6 of the NBA Finals, between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, will be on at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC10, ABC10 HD and WTMM. . . .

TNT and TNT HD starts its NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage at 1 p.m. Sunday with the Pocono 500. . . .

NBC13 and NBC13 HD will have Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, at 8 p.m. Monday. . . .

The Tiger Wood-less U.S. Open starts Thursday at 10 a.m. on ESPN and ESPN HD. NBC13 and NBC13 HD picks up coverage at 3 p.m., and ESPN and ESPN HD takes over again at 5. The same schedule is in effect for Friday’s second round.

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