Tuesday October 3, 2023

Notre Dame Wants to Triple Its Football Media Rights Fees

  • Fighting Irish want $65 million to $75 million annually for next deal.
  • Notre Dame falling behind power conferences in media arms.
Notre Dame
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs

NBC is exploring broadcasting a slice of the expanded CFP in 2026.
Listen Now
October 3, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Notre Dame will be seeking to triple its football rights fees to $65 million to $75 million annually during its next cycle of media negotiations, sources told Front Office Sports. But if the Fighting Irish want that kind of money, they might have to give up their cherished independence — and finally join a power conference.

The question of maintaining independence is key for Notre Dame’s next TV contract, as the current long-standing partnership with NBC Sports expires after the 2024 college football season. At its start in 1991, the Notre Dame-NBC partnership was ground-breaking and innovative. Irish games were nationally televised on broadcast TV; the exposure and marketing opportunities provided by NBC were priceless.

But Notre Dame’s current annual payments now lag behind the lucrative rights fees of power conference schools. 

The Fighting Irish receive somewhere in the mid-$30 million range for overall rights fees: $22 million per year from their NBC football-only contract, as well as about $11 million annually from the ACC, in which the Irish compete for all other sports. 

The Big Ten’s new mid-$7 billion, seven-year deal with NBC, Fox Sports, and CBS Sports will eventually dish out up to $90 million to schools like Ohio State and Michigan. That gives them a big financial advantage over the Irish. 

Pete Bevacqua and Jack Swarbrick

Ready For Their Closeup: Colleges Turning To Sports TV Executives

Notre Dame is the latest school to poach from television.
June 9, 2023

“My big-picture thought is that Notre Dame will need a conference to support a three-time bump long term,” said Patrick Crakes, the former Fox Sports executive turned media consultant. “I think either the Big Ten or SEC would do. Also, don’t rule out a third new conference in several years. A lot of assumptions are falling apart as pay-TV-bundle economics go flat.”

The wild card is incoming Notre Dame athletic director Pete Bevacqua, the NBC Sports chairman who will succeed current AD Jack Swarbrick in 2024. 

Both Bevacqua and his father are Notre Dame alumni. He views the role as a “dream job.” But he was also known to be a risk-taker. Could he be the power broker that finally marries Notre Dame football to a power conference? 

Andrew Brandt, the former Green Bay Packers executive, believes Notre Dame will continue to choose the independent route.

“With the steep escalation that marquee college football rights fees are undergoing, it is not surprising that Notre Dame has trebling as its target. If the choice is to pursue that — or get folded into the Big Ten deal — my sense is that they will stay independent.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Football analyst and PFF investor Chris Collinsworth talks to man in front of computers

Cris Collinsworth 'Lost a Lot of Sleep' Over Pro Football Focus Leadership Issues

New book details why it’s no longer a “happy place to work.”
Taylor Swift

NBC's 'Swift Bowl' Draws Monster 27 Million Viewers

It was the most-watched Sunday show since Super Bowl 57.
NBC is interested in media rights to the expanded College Football Playoff.

NBC Is Interested in Expanded College Football Playoff Media Rights

NBC is one of the networks pitching the CFP, a source confirmed.

MLB Attendance Surges 70 Million, Tops League Projections

League posts best year-over-year increase at the gate since 1993
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs


Featured Today

Levi's Stadium

49ers Study Shows Benefits of Public-Private Stadium Deals

Levi’s Stadium has generated more than $2 billion per new study.
Formula 1 drivers in a pack at the start of the Montreal Grand Prix
October 1, 2023

Apple Reportedly Making Push For Global Formula 1 Rights

The tech giant could offer $2 billion a year for the rights.
September 30, 2023

Baltimore Looks To Return To The Oriole Way

Lease deal offers new hope, but market and economic challenges remain.
College football is taking over Saturday night.
September 30, 2023

How College Football’s Biggest Games Took Over Saturday Night

Network competition and West Coast storylines helped college football stage a coup.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

DSG Seeks Extension As Reorganization Pressure Mounts

Bankrupt RSN operator looks to file restructuring plan in late November
October 2, 2023

RedBird IMI Makes Strategic Investment in Front Office Sports

RedBird IMI is a joint venture between RedBird Capital Partners and International Media Investments focused on high-growth media companies.
September 29, 2023

ESPN, Tiger-Rory Golf League Close To Long-Term Deal

New entity backed by Woods, McIlroy nears critical agreement
Toy Story
September 29, 2023

‘Toy Story’ Success Could Lead to More Disney-Branded NFL Kid-Casts

A successful ‘Toy Story’ game could open the door for other franchises.
September 28, 2023

ESPN Takes Next Step To Control Women’s College Basketball Rights

The WBIT will launch this season.
Jamie Erdahl and cast of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."
September 28, 2023

Jamie Erdahl Reflects On Rapid Transition To Hosting ‘Good Morning Football'

Erdahl talked to FOS about her experience since taking over the morning show from longtime host Kay Adams in July 2022.
Taylor Swift at Chiefs vs. Bears game.
September 27, 2023

Taylor Swift NFL Hype Likely To Continue Another Week

Swift could drive blockbuster TV ratings for NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
Franchise expands broadcasting reach after reaching a deal with a local TV station.
September 27, 2023

Utah Jazz Launch Streaming Service Amid RSN Shakeup

An annual Jazz+ streaming pass will cost $125.50.