Notre Dame, NBC Extend TV Pact

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The 2007 season was one for the record books for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Last year, Norte Dame lost a school record nine games while also seeing its 43 game winning streak against Navy end in a triple overtime thriller, 46-44.

college footballNotre Dame, however, has a certain mystique about it that few other college football programs can claim, even though its been the better part of a decade since the Irish have contended for a national crown. This mystique is rooted in a history that included Knute Rockne, the most All-American players of any team, and the most consensus national championships. Of course, if you are only aware of Irish history from the 1980s forward, you might not fully understand the attraction.

It is this same heralded history and rabid fan base which allowed Notre Dame to do what no other school has done — have all of its home games televised on national television as has been the practice since 1991 when Notre Dame and NBC came to this agreement. This pact has been lucrative for Notre Dame, one of the few truly independent major college programs, allowing the Irish to bring in $9 million annually no matter how good, bad, or ugly the team was. Unfortunately for Irish fans, the “ugly” was last year, casting doubt as to whether NBC would continue broadcasting Norte Dame football games.

Alas, NBC has extended its agreement with Notre Dame by another five years through the 2015 season, believing that Notre Dame football is a brand worth associating with. Though the details of the extension have not been made known, it will ensure that all seven of Norte Dame’s annual home games will be broadcast nationally and that an eight game, to be held at a neutral site will also be televised. Of course, if Notre Dame’s appeal rises during that time, most road games should also be televised though those broadcasts aren’t part of the of modified agreement.

Though 2007 was a miserable year in the annals of Irish football, Notre Dame stands a very good chance of fielding a winning team this year, one that could be bowl eligible. As far as fielding a national championship caliber team, that prospect isn’t yet within site. But, if you are a Fighting Irish fan, hope springs eternal that next year’s team will be tops.

Notre Dame opens the 2008 season at home against San Diego State on Saturday, September 6th.

(Source: Irish Illustrated)


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