NBC Chairman Mark Lazarus Tackles Future of RSN Market, Previews Tokyo 2020

By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital on December 14, 2018

With the broadcast of Super Bowl LII, the Winter Olympics, and the FIFA World Cup (with its Spanish-language partner Telemundo Deportes), 2018 was a massive year for NBC Sports.

At the 2018 SVG Summit, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus reflected on the year that was with our Ken Kerschbaumer taking on topics like the state of the RSN market (where 22 Fox regionals are up for sale), what to expect in terms of “live” hours at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, how new football leagues like the Alliance of American Football could find success in today’s sports world, and much more.

Watch the conversation in its entirety here:

Here are some highlights from the discussion:

The impending sale of the 22 Fox regional sports networks promises to be one of the most impactful storylines in sports media heading into 2019. Mark Lazarus offered his take on the many possible outcomes of the sale and the potential impact that it could have on the industry at large:

2018 was a massive year for the team at NBC Sports, including a week in February where the network broadcast Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis just days before the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyoengChang, South Korea. Lazarus outlined what that demanding stretch was like for the company:

Following a successful PyeongChang Winter Olympics back in February, preparations are already well underway for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Lazarus previewed the next Summer Games, promising that, despite the dramatic time difference, the Tokyo Games would be the “most live” Olympics in American television history:

2019 will see the launch of the Alliance of American Football with other new football leagues – like the XFL – on the horizon. While acknowledging his network is not a broadcast partner of the AAF, Lazarus noted that he was keeping a close eye on the league and that’s its success would lie heavily on the quality of play on the field:

Dave Mazza, whom many consider to be the technological architect of NBC Sports’ Olympics operations for more than two decades, was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame earlier this week. Lazarus shared his affection and admiration for the legendary sports television engineer.

For more one-on-one interviews, highlights from conference sessions, and full keynote conversations and panel discussions, visit SVG On Demand.