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. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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