NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer is likely to leave network next
Just a week after Dick Ebersol exited his post as chairman of NBC Sports Group, his longtime No. 2 executive is also expected to be heading out the door, people close to the situation said.
An Ebersol loyalist, Schanzer served as a key negotiator of NBC's major sports rights deals over the years including its agreements for the National Football League, Notre Dame Football, horse racing's Triple Crown and most recently the National Hockey League.
The departure of Schanzer is not a surprise given how close he is to Ebersol and that he had been hinting at retiring for the last few years.
Whether new NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus will replace Schanzer remains to be seen. Lazarus, a former president of Time Warner's Turner Entertainment Group, had been brought in to run the company's cable sports channels.
The shake-ups in sports comes less than five months after Comcast Corp. closed on its deal to take control of NBCUniversal from General Electric Co. Ebersol, who had been associated with NBC for almost 40 years, left abruptly last week after being unable to come to terms on a new contract and bumping up against Comcast brass including Steve Burke, who is now the chief executive of NBCUniversal.
The moves come at a crucial time for NBCUniversal as it determines what approach it will take in bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. News Corp. and ESPN are expected to bid aggressively for the Games against NBCUniversal.
An NBC Sports spokesman declined to comment.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Ken Schanzer. Credit: NBC Sports.