Televisionpoint.com Team NBC sports chief Dick Ebersol got an early look at London's preparations for the 2012 Olympics, and liked what he saw, reports say.
"At this stage, seven years out, it's definitely ahead of the last three games," Ebersol said Friday.
Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) hosted the last three Summer Olympics. NBC held the U.S. television rights to those games, as it does for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.
London was awarded the 2012 Games in July, beating out Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow in the International Olympic Committee vote.
Work has begun on the main Olympic complex in east London, where a rundown 500-acre area is being turned into one of Europe's biggest parks. Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, toured the area Thursday.
"I was stunned to see that space," Ebersol said in remarks Friday to the London organizing committee and British Olympic officials.
Comparing the site to what he saw in Sydney five years before the Olympics, he said, "There was nothing there. You guys are well ahead."
Ebersol also said the British capital's landmarks will provide the perfect backdrop for Olympic broadcasts. He cited triathlon in Hyde Park, tennis at Wimbledon and beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade.
"These games will have a pedigree like I've never seen," he said. "You have so many icons that the world is familiar with, a panache that nobody else can bring to the games. I think they will be wildly successful games."
Crucial to that success, Ebersol said, will be the enthusiasm of the British public and the success of the host nation's athletes.
"Your teams have to be ready to compete for medals day in and day out," he said.
Ebersol urged organizers to schedule events in which British athletes have strong medal chances near the start of the games to build momentum.
"You might call that cheating, I call it smart," he said.
Ebersol said NBC would not pressure organizers to schedule events for U.S. prime time. Because of the time difference with Europe, most events will not be shown live.
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