Pete Bevacqua, who joined NBC Sports in 2018 as its first president in nearly a decade, has been elevated to the top role at the NBCUniversal-owned unit.
Bevacqua, the former CEO of the Professional Golf Association, was named chairman of NBC Sports Group, filling a role that was vacated when Mark Lazarus took on a bigger role within the parent company.
“In his time with NBC Sports, Pete has been exceptional working with our league and organizational partners, as well as in collaboration with other NBCUniversal leaders to strengthen our sports production and overall business in a challenging environment,” said Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, in a statement.
During Bevacqua’s time with NBC Sports, the unit has expanded its portfolio of golf rights; moved more directly into sports betting; and worked to position NBC Sports for a consumer base increasingly focused on streaming video on demand.
NBC Sports in June snared U.S. media rights for all United States Golf Association championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, through 2026, after Fox Sports elected to terminate its contract with the organization earlier than expected. NBC Sports has plans to show a new NFL Wild Card playoff games in 2021 across NBC, Telemundo and Peacock. And NBC Sports has quietly moved forward into the increasingly popular world of sports wagering, recently establishing a multi-year deal with online bookmaker PointsBet, in a pact that could make NBCU over time a partial owner of that company.
Bevacqua has challenges ahead of him, including negotiating a new contract with the NFL after the league’s current agreement with NBC lapses in 2022. Depending on how the world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, NBC Sports may face broadcasting a Summer Olympics, a Super Bowl and a Winter Olympics in a narrower-than-anticipated window in 2021 and 2022, after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed earlier this year.
The executive joined NBCUniversal in September 2018 as president, NBC Sports Group, overseeing programming, marketing, digital, the NBC Sports Regional Networks, and all golf businesses as Lazarus was taking on a broader suite of responsibilities in NBCU. In February 2019, Bevacqua was granted oversight of the entire sports division. Before joining NBC Sports, Bevacqua was CEO of the PGA of America between 2012 and 2018. He has also worked as global head of golf at Creative Artists Agency, chief business officer for the USGA; and managing director of the U.S. Open Championship.