NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua is exiting his role at the entertainment giant to become the University of Notre Dame’s athletics director.
According to a Thursday memo to staff from NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus, Bevacqua will continue in his role at NBC Sports until the end of June. In the near term, Bevacqua’s direct reports will report to Lazarus.
“Sometimes in life, someone gets an opportunity to take their “Dream Job”, and today I’m writing to share the news that NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua will be leaving our Company to take his dream job,” Lazarus wrote. “He will remain a friend to all of us, and now also becomes a partner, as we’ve been in business with Notre Dame since 1990, and we will continue to be, hopefully well into the future.”
Bevacqua, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1993, will join the university on July 1 in the role of special assistant to the president for athletics. He will be mentored by vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick before officially taking over the role in the first quarter of 2024.
“This is an unbelievable honor for me and a dream come true. With the exception of my family, nothing means more to me than the University of Notre Dame,” Bevacqua said in a statement. “As a Notre Dame alum, I have a keen understanding and deep appreciation of the lifetime, transformational benefit our student-athletes receive in a Notre Dame education, one that is unique and unlike any other institution in the world. I am so grateful to Father Jenkins, the Board of Trustees and, of course, Jack Swarbrick. Jack has become a true friend over the course of the past several years and I am looking forward to working alongside him and learning as much as I can from the person I admire and respect the most in college athletics.”
Bevacqua is the latest executive shakeup at NBC, following the departure of NBCUniversal advertising powerhouse Linda Yaccarino, who left the company serve as the chief executive officer of Twitter, and the ousting of former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell.
Since 2018, Bevacqua has been tasked with overseeing NBC Sports’ collection of assets and platforms, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, the Golf Channel, NBC Sports Digital, NBC Sports Next and NBC Sports on Peacock. He also has been the network’s chief steward of NBC’s unique, exclusive broadcast rights agreement with Notre Dame football, now entering its 33rd season.
Together with his team, Bevacqua completed numerous rights agreements across the national and international sports landscape. Most recently, NBCUniversal and the Big Ten Conference reached a seven-year agreement in August for NBC and Peacock to become the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night football. In March 2021, NBCUniversal and the NFL agreed to an 11-year extension for NBC Sports to continue as the home of Sunday Night Football.
In addition to Notre Dame football, Bevacqua also oversaw NBC’s coverage of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Major League Baseball, the English Premier League, NASCAR, WWE, the Kentucky Derby, IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500, the Tour de France, French Open, USFL and numerous golf properties, including the PGA Tour, USGA Championships, the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Open Championships, LPGA, Ryder Cup and DP World Tour.
Prior to working at NBC, Bevacqua served as chief executive officer of the PGA of America, guiding the sports organization’s business and overall strategy. He currently serves as a co-chair of RISE, an alliance of major sports organizations including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and the NCAA that promotes racial equality across the U.S. sports landscape.
Bevacqua’s move follows a career path pioneered by Syracuse AD John Wildhack, who left ESPN for that athletic director role in 2016. Wildhack, a former 30-year veteran of ESPN, had been the executive VP of programming and production, responsible for oversight of all ESPN and ABC game, event and studio production as well as programming acquisitions and rights-holder relationship management and scheduling.
Notre Dame’s collegiate athletic enterprise is composed of more than 700 student-athletes spread over 26 varsity sports and supported by over 100 coaches and
“It speaks volumes about Notre Dame and Father Jenkins’ leadership that we can implement such a well-conceived succession plan and attract someone of Pete’s talent and experience,” Swarbrick said. “I have worked closely with Pete throughout his time at NBC and based on that experience, I believe he has the perfect skill set to help Notre Dame navigate the rapidly changing landscape that is college athletics today, and be an important national leader as we look to the future. I look forward to helping Notre Dame’s student-athletes and coaches achieve their goals in the months ahead while also helping Pete prepare for his tenure as athletics director.”