NBC Sports President Schanzer To Retire at Summer’s End
Longtime NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer announced his retirement today after three decades at the network, including the last 13 years as president of the sports division. At the request of the company, Schanzer will stay on through the end of the summer. Schanzer’s retirement comes a week after Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports Group Chairman, announced he was stepping down.
A respected executive and negotiator, Schanzer was integral in the NBC Sports Group’s recent efforts to reassemble horse racing’s Triple Crown and its landmark 10-year NHL agreement. Throughout his career, he also played a vital role in managing NBC Sports’ partnerships with Notre Dame, the PGA TOUR and the NFL. Schanzer has led the day-to-day operations of NBC Sports since being named the division’s president in June, 1998.
“It has been the greatest privilege of my professional career to have contributed to the growth of NBC Sports and to have worked with so many prodigious people,” said Schanzer. “It’s comforting to know that when I leave at the end of the summer, the NBC Sports Group will be in the hands of Mark Lazarus and all the talented people here who have meant so much to me throughout my career.”
“Ken, who I have known for 15 years, has been one of the most respected and influential sports-television executives of the past three decades and is a major reason that the NBC Sports Group is so well positioned for the future,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “I am pleased that he will remain through the summer as I will regularly seek his counsel as I transition into my new role.”
“Ken has had an impressive career here and I am incredibly appreciative of all he has done to build NBC Sports into the formidable brand that it is today,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Schanzer was named president of NBC Sports on June 18, 1998. He is responsible for supervising the day-to-day operation of the division and with the recent Comcast merger became the lead negotiator for all NBC Sports Group partnership agreements. The appointment to President came after two stints as Executive Vice President of NBC Sports, first from 1983-93 and then from 1995-98.
Schanzer initially came to NBC Sports in November 1981, and served as Vice President, Talent and Program Negotiations, until his appointment as Executive Vice President in June 1983. Before joining NBC Sports, he served eight months as Senior Vice President, government relations for the National Association of Broadcasters.
The revenue sharing partnership with the National Hockey League – announced in May 2004 – is one example of the major role Schanzer has played in breaking new ground in the business of network television sports, and in particular, the execution of NBC Sports’ strategy of financially sound sports rights agreements.
From July 1993 through October 1995, Schanzer served as the President and CEO of The Baseball Network, the joint venture of Major League Baseball, ABC and NBC. The Baseball Network oversaw the marketing, television sales and television production for the partners.
Schanzer is a 1966 graduate of Colgate University and earned his Juris Doctor degree at Columbia Law School in 1970. Ken and his wife Lisa have three children: Thomas, Lindsay and Peter.