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NBC Sports Group, Notre Dame renew football partnership

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Updated: 4/18/2013 1:51 pm
NEW YORK – The University of Notre Dame and the NBC Sports Group have renewed their historic football partnership for 10 years, through the 2025 season. The renewal extends the landmark partnership, which began in 1991, to 35 years.

“While our relationship with NBC Sports is longstanding, the more recent merger between NBC and Comcast has opened up additional avenues to expand the breadth of Notre Dame-related sports programming on NBC platforms,” said Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick.

“Specifically, the evolution of the NBC Sports Network has provided opportunities for special programming featuring inside looks at our football team and several other Notre Dame sports programs and in-depth profiles on the unsung heroes of Notre Dame athletics. These are examples of the growth of our partnership, and we look forward to collaborating on additional projects and distribution strategies in seasons to come.”

“Coming off one of Notre Dame’s best and most dramatic seasons in decades, we could not be more proud to extend this historic partnership, which continues to be one of the most innovative in sports-media history,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “We are particularly excited that this extension offers enhanced rights that allow us to bring Notre Dame Football to fans on more platforms than ever before.”

Per the extension, which begins with the 2016 season, the NBC Sports Group retains global media rights on all platforms to a minimum of seven Notre Dame home football games per year on NBC. It also allows for selected games to air on NBC Sports Network, similar to past NBC-Notre Dame agreements which allowed for selected games to be moved to cable. As it has since 2009, NBC Sports Digital will continue to live stream Fighting Irish home games.

In 2012, Notre Dame finished the regular season undefeated -- with a 12-0 record that included numerous dramatic finishes -- and ultimately earned their first-ever berth in the BCS Championship Game. The Fighting Irish averaged 4.4 million viewers and a 2.8 household rating for its seven games on NBC in 2012, up 69% and 67%, respectively, versus 2011. It was the best performance on NBC in seven years (2005, 5.2 million), while the 2.8 rating was the best since 2006 (3.0).

Revenues from the NBC partnership have played a key role in Notre Dame’s financial aid endowment since the start of the relationship in 1991 when University officers allocated a portion of the football television contract revenue for undergraduate scholarship endowment (not athletic scholarships). To date, some 6,300 Notre Dame undergraduate students have received nearly $80 million in aid from revenue generated through the NBC contract.

The University also has committed NBC revenues to endow doctoral fellowships in its Graduate School and MBA scholarships in its Mendoza College of Business.

NBC has been televising Irish home games since 1991. This marks the first 10-year extension of the partnership, following five five-year agreements. By the conclusion of this extension, NBC will have televised Notre Dame Football home games for 35 consecutive seasons.
The 84th annual Notre Dame Blue-Gold spring football game airs on NBC Sports Network this Saturday at 10 a.m., marking just the third time that the Fighting Irish’s traditional spring scrimmage game will be televised nationally.

In his first official assignment as the newest member of NBC Sports’ Notre Dame Football on-air team, Dan Hicks will call play-by-play, and be joined by analyst and 2013 Sports Emmy Award nominee Mike Mayock, and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan.

The 2013 Notre Dame Football season on NBC begins Saturday, Aug. 31, at 12:30 p.m. when the Fighting Irish host Temple. The 2013 schedule also includes games against Michigan State on Sept. 21; Oklahoma on Sept. 28; Arizona State from Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Oct. 5; USC on Oct. 19; Navy on Nov. 2; and BYU on Nov. 23.

-- From news release
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