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NBC SNF CREATOR DICK EBERSOL NAMED WINNER OF PETE ROZELLE RADIO-TELEVISION AWARD

NBC SNF CREATOR DICK EBERSOL NAMED WINNER OF PETE ROZELLE RADIO-TELEVISION AWARD

05/14/2019
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Dick Ebersol, who was once described as “the most powerful figure ever in Sports TV” has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. The prestigious award, presented annually by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, recognizes “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.”

“Dick Ebersol’s creativity, passion, business acumen, determination and leadership paved the way for extraordinary and innovative coverage of the NFL that resulted in enormous growth of viewership for this great game,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker commented. “He is the epitome of the Hall’s values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence.”

Ebersol will be honored during the 2019 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls at the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday, Aug. 2 and presented with the award at the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2019 – CHAMP BAILEY, PAT BOWLEN, GIL BRANDT, TONY GONZALEZ, TYLAW, KEVIN MAWAE, ED REED and JOHNNY ROBINSON – on Saturday, Aug. 3 in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

"I can’t begin to thank David Baker and the folks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enough for this great honor. I look forward to August in Canton more than ever this year. This is especially meaningful to be recognized in the same year that my dear friend Pat Bowlen earns his rightful place in Canton. I have deep respect for how Pat’s vision so profoundly shaped the NFL’s television landscape as well as giving Denver Super Bowl championship football teams,” shared Ebersol.
 

Ebersol’s imprint in television broadcasting included more than 20 years as the head of NBC Sports. He was named the president of the division in 1989, elevated to Chairman of NBC Sports & Olympics in 1998, and assumed the title of Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics in 2004 when NBC and Universal merged. He became Chairman of NBC Sports Group in 2011, his final year with the network.

Four years after being named the President of NBC Sports in 1989, Ebersol negotiated two historic broadcast contracts when he secured a four-year, $880 million deal for the rights to the NFL’s AFC games and two Super Bowls; and won the right to broadcast the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta with a record-setting bid of $456 million.

In 2005, Ebersol created “Sunday Night Football” (SNF) as NBC returned to covering the NFL. He, along with Bowlen, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Roger Goodell and NFL Executive Steve  Bornstein, worked  to land the new Sunday Night package on NBC. It became the first sports series in history to be a Top 10 show since its inception. In 2011, SNF became the first sport series ever to be the most watched prime-time show for an entire television season which began a record, and still active, run of eight consecutive years of earning that distinction.

Ebersol’s iconic career as a television executive spanned more than three decades and included the acquisition or renewal of numerous major sports properties. Under his leadership, he led award-winning coverage of the NFL in addition to the Olympic Games, NBA, NHL, Notre Dame football, the Triple Crown, Wimbledon, NASCAR among others. He guided NBC to a historic milestone when the network became the first to ever broadcast the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Summer Olympics in the same television season (1995-96).

In all, Ebersol led the production of six Super Bowls and eight Olympic Games and was involved in an additional four Olympics. Three of the broadcasts were milestone television events at the time when the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 became the most watched event in U.S. television history and the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010 were the second most watched Winter Olympics in history. NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009 drew the largest-single audience in U.S. television history with 152 million viewers.

At one point of his career, he had produced eight of the top 10 most watched television events in U.S. history. Ebersol has been bestowed a number of prestigious honors for his industry-changing success including in 2009 when he received the Emmy Award of Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Among his many other accolades, he has received the Olympic Order from the International Olympic Committee; inducted in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame; named The Sporting News Most Powerful Person in Sports in 1996, the Sports Business Journal’s 2009 Sports Executive of the Year, the 2010 Broadcaster of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable, and the received the SportsBusiness Journal Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Ebersol’s career began when he briefly dropped out of Yale University, where he later earned his degree in 1971, to work for Roone Arledge (Pete Rozelle Award Winner, 2001) and ABC as the first-ever Olympics researcher. In addition to his long list of accomplishments in sports, Ebersol conceived and developed “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) with Lorne Michaels in 1975, one year after joining NBC as the Director of Weekend Late Night Programming. At age 28, he became the NBC’s first vice president under the age of 30. After a brief departure from SNL, he returned in 1981 and served as executive producer until 1985 when the show featured stars like Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal.

As an independent producer before returning in NBC, he created Emmy Award-winning shows such as “Friday Night Videos” and “Later with Bob Costas.”

PAST WINNERS OF THE PETE ROZELLE RADIO-TV AWARD:

2018 – Andrea Kremer

2017 – David Hill

2016 – James Brown

2015 – Tom Jackson

2014 – Bob Trumpy

2013 – Al Michaels

2012 – Len Dawson

2011 – Jim Nantz

2010 – Chris Berman

2009 – Irv Cross

2008 – Dan Dierdorf

2007 – Don Meredith

2006 – Lesley Visser

2005 – Myron Cope

2004 – Van Miller

2003 – Don Criqui

2002 – John Madden

2001 – Roone Arledge

2000 – Ray Scott

1999 – Dick Enberg

1998 – Val Pinchbeck

1997 – Charlie Jones

1996 – Jack Buck

1995 – Frank Gifford

1994 – Pat Summerall

1993 – Curt Gowdy

1992 – Chris Schenkel

1991 – Ed Sabol

1990 – Lindsey Nelson

1989 – Bill McPhail

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