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Sports Business

Notre Dame could push BCS revenue to record highs

November 19, 2012
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The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame won’t be the only ones dancing on a pot of gold should the school’s football team make it to the BCS National Championship game Jan. 7 in Miami.

Ticket brokers and TV networks all predict record financial windfalls if Notre Dame plays for its first national title since 1988.

Alabama is No. 2 in the BCS standings, and if the Crimson Tide makes the title game, that certainly won’t hurt ticket demand or TV ratings.

While college football has a strong following, the fan base is largely regional in its following of teams. In a recent ESPN poll, however, Notre Dame and Alabama ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in terms of national popularity, both scoring well with fan bases outside of their regions.

Just the prospect of the Notre Dame-Alabama match-up is already driving up BCS championship ticket prices. As of this morning, few tickets on the secondary market were available for less than $1,000, with the best seats fetching around $4,300.

If Notre Dame can win its final regular season game at the University of Southern California on Nov. 24, ticket brokers think some prices could double. Alabama still has to beat Auburn on Nov. 24 and win the Southeastern Conference championship game Dec. 1 to secure its spot in Miami. Both would appear doable, though the SEC title game will be a challenge.

Tickets for last year’s BCS championship game in New Orleans between LSU and Alabama carried a college football record median ticket price of $1,565, a dramatic increase from the 2011 title Auburn versus Oregon game, which had a median price of $925, according to officials for secondary ticket seller StubHub.

Ticket brokers are predicting a median price for this year’s title game—if it features Notre Dame—to exceed $1,800.

Notre Dame’s massive following also is expected to push TV viewership to a high water mark. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

NBC’s broadcasts of Notre Dame games are up 76 percent this season, with more than 5 million households expected to tune in to the USC game this Saturday.

If the Irish and Tide meet in the title game, broadcast experts think more than 25 million households could tune in. That would mean a 25-plus rating, which is higher than the record 21.7 rating the 2006 BCS game between Texas and USC scored.

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