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Breaking News: Ebersol leaving NBC Sports
[Editor's Note: So much for Dick Ebersol doing something big with Versus and NBC Sports to help IndyCar grow.]  In a surprise move, Dick Ebersol is stepping down as NBC Universal Sports & Olympics chairman over a contract dispute.

Dick Ebersol, an industry giant who helped launch "Saturday Night Live" and built the network into the home of the Olympics, resigned Thursday as NBC Sports Group chairman.

"It has been a sincere privilege to tell so many remarkable stories that have inspired me throughout my entire career," Ebersol said in a statement released through the network.

Ebersol had run NBC Sports since 1989, and his departure comes just three weeks before the International Olympic Committee opens bids on the next set of lucrative Olympic broadcast rights in the United States.

The network said NBC Sports Cable Group president Mark Lazarus would take over for Ebersol.

"It comes as a complete surprise," said Richard Carrion, the IOC executive board member who negotiates U.S. rights. He said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts "assured me they are 100 percent committed to the Olympics and the rights process."

NBC merged with the cable giant Comcast earlier this year.

A person with knowledge of the decision told the AP that Ebersol resigned in a contract dispute.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the network was not releasing a reason for Ebersol's departure. His decision was first reported by The New York Times.

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