How will the surprise resignation Thursday of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol shape the bidding for the next Olympics television package, scheduled for June 6-7 in Switzerland? Here's a look at how NBC, Foz, and ESPN/ABC--the three widely cited frontrunners, all of whom entered bids the last time the rights were available in 2003--stand in the first hours of the post-Ebersol era.
Ebersol (right) has produced every summer Olympics since 1988 and every winter Olympics 2002. And while he's not leaving the network until late-June, he told the New York Times' Richard Sandomir that he wouldn't attend the auction in Switzerland. The New York Post reported last month that Comcast was reluctant to bid on the next rights package after the 2010 Vancouver games lost money, and it was causing "friction" between Ebersol and his new bosses. Ebersol denied that to Sandomir, and the IOC has already issued a statement describing Comcast's interest as "firm." In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Richard Carrion, the IOC member handling the auction, revealed he'd already received a call from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, "reassuring me they are extremely interested in continuing the relationship."