NBCUniversal Television Chairman Mark Lazarus announced today the Pete Bevacqua would succeed him as Chairman of NBC Sports Group. Bevacqua becomes just the third man to hold the position.
Pete Bevacqua joined NBC Sports in 2018. He was named the group’s president. He oversaw programming, marketing, digital, the NBC Sports Regional Networks, and the Golf brand. In 2019 all of NBC Sports operations fell under his jurisdiction.
During his time in charge of NBC Sports, Bevacqua and his team have accomplished some significant things. He oversaw a nine-year extension of NBC’s PGA Tour rights that includes a major presence on the recently launched streaming service Peacock. In June, his team re-acquired the media rights for the US Golf Association, making NBC networks the home of the US Open and US Women’s Open through 2026. Most recently, he oversaw a partnership with PointsBet that makes the Australian sports book the official betting partner of NBC Sports.
“In his time with NBC Sports, Pete has been exceptional working with our league and organizational partners, as well as in collaboration with other NBCUniversal leaders to strengthen our sports production and overall business in a challenging environment,” Lazarus said in a press release.
Bevacqua was heavily involved in the golf world prior to joining NBC. He served as CEO of the PGA of America from 2012-2018. Before that, he was Global Head of Golf at CAA Sports.
Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’
“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”
There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.
He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.
“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”
Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.
“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.
The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.
The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”
Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN
“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”
Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.
“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”
Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.
In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.
In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.
“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”
Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship
The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.
The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.
But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.
YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.