NBC bets on ND to turn it around

June 19, 2008
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UNDlepNotre Dame is renewing its television contract with NBC.

The university and NBC announced today they have agreed on a five-year deal that runs through the 2015 season. The current contract—which paid Notre Dame $9 million annually—was scheduled to expire in 2010. Sources close to the network said the new deal pays Notre Dame about $10 million per year.

This contract includes seven homes games per season. It allows for the first time an eighth off-site home game played at a neutral stadium.

The extension comes in the midst of an on-field Notre Dame slump. NBC had to downgrade its advertising pricing strategy while the Irish posted a 3-9 season last year. Last fall the ratings on Irish games fell 40 percent from the previous year and are now half of their 2005 levels.

NBC has had to give free ads (known as make-goods) to companies like Allstate and Procter & Gamble to justify the $55,000 to $80,000 rates for 30-second spots network officials negotiated before the season started. Media buyers will likely demand better pricing for the 2008-09 season.

NBC has broadcast Irish football since 1991. The TV money from NBC is one of the primary reasons Notre Dame football has been able to continue profitability while not being in a conference.

“The announcement of our association with Notre Dame back in 1990 was one of the great moments in the history of NBC Sports, so we're obviously thrilled to be continuing this landmark partnership with Notre Dame,” said Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports chairman. “Notre Dame is unquestionably one of the premier brands that defines who we at NBC are — things like the Olympics, the NFL, the U.S. Open and Notre Dame. "

Ebersol isn't discouraged by Notre Dame's losing record last year.

“The Notre Dame brand is a brand that has been sustained for decade after decade after decade,” Ebersol said. “When you look at the great brands you don’t necessarily look at year to year. Notre Dame has had a new coaching team settling in. We're big believers in how Notre Dame time and time again, over all these generations, has maintained its strength. I don't see that going away.”

The revenue generated through the NBC relationship is a primary reason why Forbes magazine has recognized the substantial financial contributions made by Irish athletics to the university's academic enterprise. In a 2007 survey, Forbes reported that the Notre Dame football program returns $21.1 million to academic initiatives, a total that is more than the survey's next five programs combined.

NBC's schedule of Notre Dame home games in 2008 features dates against San Diego State (Sept. 6), Michigan (Sept. 13), Purdue (Sept. 27), Stanford (Oct. 4), Pittsburgh (Nov. 1) and Syracuse (Nov. 22).
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  • When you think of the history of sports in the state of Indiana, you think of a handful of things. Indy 500, Notre Dame Football, Indiana Basketball, Peyton Manning, Reggie Miller, and H.S. Basketball.

    Notre Dame Football has a massive nearly unparalleled national following. It is one of the few college programs that transcend State Borders. While it is a Love 'Em or Hate 'Em program, that is a compliment to the elite stature the ND Football Program has earned in the past 100 plus years.

    ND will be back. They just assembled a very solid squad a couple years back and have several of the top recruiting classes in the nation. They pump out elite NFL talent and are and will always be a football destination despite any ups and downs.

    ND woes and IU's current situation are both similar, but there is no doubt that it is only a matter of time before both programs regain their top level expectations and performance.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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