NBC executive Mark Lazarus.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Lazarus has been named Chairman, NBCUniversal Media Group. Lazarus had previously served as Chairman of Television and Streaming.

This role comes with permanent oversight of NBC Sports, which Lazarus had been in charge of for a while, but had run more closely after chairman Pete Bevacqua was hired as Notre Dame’s head athletic director last month. He’ll also continue to oversee advertising, a role he’d held since Linda Yaccarino’s departure for Twitter in May.

Lazarus is now adding oversight of NBCU’s content distribution business as well. And a company memo quoted by THR says he will “run the company’s TV and Streaming platforms, distribution and monetization.” He’s now one of four operational heads at NBCU, under Comcast president Mike Cavanagh (who took direct charge of NBCU after Jeff Shell’s April exit).

NBC is looking to expand its sports footprint, recently adding the Big Ten to its broadcast portfolio. The network could also look to rekindle its relationship with the NBA, whose broadcast rights with Disney (ESPN) and Warner Brothers Discovery (TNT) expire after the 2024-25 season. NBC hasn’t had an NBA presence since 2002.

No stranger to sports, Lazarus has overseen countless acquisitions throughout his NBC tenure, negotiating rights deals with the NFL (Sunday Night Football), NASCAR, Premier League soccer and the Olympics. NBC’s other broadcast offerings include golf, tennis, horse racing, Notre Dame football and cycling with MLB games airing weekly on its streaming platform, Peacock. NBC recently lost its NHL broadcast rights, which now belong to ESPN and TNT.

Lazarus arrives at a fraught time in NBC’s history, tasked with keeping afloat a struggling company hit hard by layoffs and declining viewership, the latter prompting the media giant to abandon NBC Sports Network in 2021. The NBA would be a game-changer, though NBC will have plenty of competition in that regard, facing a likely bidding war against the likes of Disney, Warner Brothers Discovery and Amazon.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.