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 on Saturday, August 3rd.
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.
In all, Ebersol led the production of six Super Bowls and eight Olympic Games and was involved in an additional four Olympics.