Notre Dame’s Next TV Deal: 3 Key Priorities
Much has been discussed recently regarding Notre Dame’s TV deal with NBC coming to an end. What should the Irish do next? What options other than NBC may be available? What will the revenue model look like? How do the changing conference alliances impact this move? There’s a lot to consider and a lot of information behind the scenes that we will never be privy to.
While this situation is still in the “negotiating” limbo phase, I do think there are some very basic priorities the Irish brass should have in mind while making this very important decision that will coincide with the ushering in of the expanded playoff era.
Let’s examine what Notre Dame’s top 3 priorities should be regarding this matter.
Show Me The Money
Sep 10, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman leads his players out of the tunnel before the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
When negotiating with NBC or any other network, Notre Dame’s chief priority must be money. No, this isn’t purely about greed and stockpiling cash for status, it is simply about “keeping up with the Joneses” regarding the TV money other top football schools will receive.
Quite simply, Notre Dame Football will not be financially viable or competitive moving forward if they cannot secure a TV deal that pays them similarly to what Power 5 conference teams receive. For example, the Big Ten appears to be looking at yearly payouts around 90 million per team, per year. A vast chasm exists between this number and Notre Dame’s current 22 Million per year deal.
Rumors have it that Notre Dame is seeking 75 million per year to stay with NBC. Will NBC flinch at that number? It’s already less than the Big Ten number by 15 million so do the Irish have an appetite to accept less than the 75 to stay? I’d hope not. Even a 15 million gap between Notre Dame and say, Rutgers, per year, will amount to Rutgers having 75 million more than Notre Dame to support football in a 5-year span. This scenario cannot become reality. The Irish need to hold firm and assert their value through all negotiations with all entities.
Make The Games Feel Big
Nov 5, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Logan Diggs (3) runs the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
When we put aside the financials, the next priority should be ensuring that the actual product delivers the feel Notre Dame is seeking from their TV production partner. This has been lacking in Notre Dame’s NBC product as of late.
Nothing about the current NBC Notre Dame production makes me feel like the game is a “big deal”. The announcers are not even close to NBC’s A team and often lack energy or any sort of “big game vibe” delivery or feel. I take issue with this. Making each home game feel like a big deal should be the baseline expectation of a TV partner. Notre Dame should push this point.
Flexible Viewing Options / Features
Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree (25) runs the ball during the Notre Dame vs. Stanford NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
While I am very traditional in many ways, particularly when it comes to Notre Dame. I am not against new ideas and modern ways to consume football in any way. In fact, the more options the better.
I do however have an issue when these changes are forced and are not optional. I would love streaming options that offer mobility and ways for more people to consume the product. But that being the ONLY way to consume 1 of Notre Dame’s cherished home games? This feels beneath Notre Dame to be subject to these streaming “experiments” which oftentimes come with delays, lags, etc.
I would love for these features to be offered, but not forced. Let the loyal Irish fan base choose how they are most comfortable consuming the product and make each way stand out and present its’ own benefits.
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