Notre Dame and NBC extend football contract to 2025

Author: Dennis Brown

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The University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports have reached agreement on a new 10-year contract giving NBC the rights to televise Irish home football games from 2016 to 2025 and extending the partnership between the University and network to 35 years.

A joint announcement of the extension was made April 18 by Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, and Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“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,” Lazarus said. “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.”

As it has since 2009, NBC Sports Digital will continue to live stream Fighting Irish home games for the web, mobile and tablets.

Father Jenkins noted the multiple benefits of the partnership with NBC.

“In addition to the national broadcast of our home football games, this longtime and valued collaboration with NBC has made a Notre Dame education possible to literally thousands of students,” Father Jenkins said. “We are delighted to extend our partnership to bring Irish football to our fans, to continue to help support financial aid, and to tell the Notre Dame story.”

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Revenues from the NBC contract have played a key role in Notre Dame’s financial aid endowment since the start of the relationship in 1991. University officers decided then to use 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 revenue from NBC to endow doctoral fellowships in its Graduate School and MBA scholarships in its Mendoza College of Business.

In addition to televising games, NBC has collaborated with Notre Dame on an award-winning series of two-minute halftime messages featuring University faculty and student research.

“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,” Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick said.

“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.”

Per the extension, the NBC Sports Group retains global media rights on all platforms to a minimum of seven Notre Dame home football games per year. As in the prior contract, it allows for occasional games to air on NBC Sports Network which is available in 80 million homes.

NBC has been televising Irish home games since 1991, and this marks the sixth of a series of agreements with Notre Dame. The original agreement covered the seasons from 1991 through 1995. The first five-year extension (announced in 1994) covered 1996 to 2000, the second extension (announced in May 1997) covered 2001 to 2005, the third extension (announced in December 2003) covered 2006 to 2010, and the fourth (announced in June 2008) covered 2011 to 2015.

Each of the initial three contracts featured a combined 30 home games over each five-year span. From 2011 through 2015, NBC will have televised 35 games over five years, due to the addition in several years of a seventh home game and/or an eighth off-site game.

NBC’s schedule of Notre Dame home games for the coming season features Temple (Aug. 31), Michigan State (Sept. 21), Oklahoma (Sept. 28), Arizona State in Dallas (Oct. 5), USC (Oct. 19), Navy (Nov. 2) and BYU (Nov. 23).