Notre Dame is poised to significantly raise its football rights fees in its next television contract, as per a report by Front Office Sports. The prestigious Indiana university has had its home games broadcast on NBC since 1991, with a current annual deal worth $22 million set to run through 2024. In addition to this, the Fighting Irish also pull in $11 million as non-football members of the ACC.
In its upcoming contract negotiation, Notre Dame hopes to secure between $65 and $75 million per year exclusively for its home games and neutral site games where the Irish are the nominated home team.
The exact value of a Notre Dame home game is not easily defined, however, over the past three seasons, Notre Dame games on NBC have averaged 2.34 million viewers across a total of 19 games. On seven occasions viewership dropped below the 2 million mark, though none of matches exceeded 4 million viewers.
In contrast, games that are part of the Big Ten Conference, aired on Fox or ABC, have earned significantly higher viewerships, with a median figure of 3.97 million viewers in 2022. Even excluding high-audience games and including ESPN broadcasts, Big Ten games averaged 2.76 million – 17% higher than the average Notre Dame viewership.
NBC reportedly shelled out $350 million per year for the rights to broadcast 14-16 Big Ten football games, plus 8 games on Peacock and 77 men’s and women’s basketball games. Assuming 80% of this value was assigned to the football games, this equates to approximately $18.7 million per game.
Presuming that Notre Dame games are worth roughly 80% of Big Ten games, incurs a valuation of nearly $105 million per year for Notre Dame games – significantly higher $65-75 million Notre Dame will seek in its next contract negotiation. Based on this disparity, it would seem that NBC, or any other prospective network, and Notre Dame have a significant aisle to cross in future negotiations.