Some of the most powerful media executives in the U.S. are expanding their duties and nearing new contracts in moves poised to impact the sports media landscape significantly.
On Thursday, Comcast enlarged the roles of NBCUniversal executives Mark Lazarus, Donna Langley, and Cesar Conde. Lazarus, previously chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, will be chairman of the NBCUniversal media group in a role that will include oversight of NBC Sports, the company’s other TV networks and streaming platforms, and advertising and distribution.
The shifts follow the April departure of former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, as well as the exits in the last two months of NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua — who will be Notre Dame’s director of athletics — and new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, former NBCUniversal chairman of global advertising and partnerships.
Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger is reportedly seeking a contract extension that would keep him atop the ESPN parent company beyond the end of his current deal in December 2024. The extension would delay a Disney executive succession plan said to center in part on current ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro.
The executive shuffle arrives as several key sports media rights remain on the market — most notably those of the NBA — heightening the existing rivalry between Iger and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
For Comcast and NBCUniversal, the Paris 2024 Olympics are also just a year away, increasing the urgency to implement its new leadership structure.