Notre Dame, NBC Sports extend football contract thru 2015

For more than 50 years, WNDU and Newscenter 16 have been your home for Notre Dame football.

And it will stay that way for many more years to come.

NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol and Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins announced an extension of the TV contract to broadcast Irish football games on NBC through 2015.

2015 will mark the 25th year for Notre Dame on NBC.

“We are thrilled to continue this landmark partnership with Notre Dame," Ebersol said during a conference call.

“Notre Dame defines who we at NBC Sports are: from the Olympics, to the U.S. Golf Open to Notre Dame.”

The new deal officially begins in 2011, and will allow NBC to broadcast 8 Notre Dame games, 7 of which will be played at Notre Dame Stadium and the 8th to be played off-site in primetime.

An off-site game will also be broadcasted by NBC in 2009 (Washington State) and 2010.

“This is a great day for Notre Dame," Father Jenkins said in the same conference call. "Our fans get to see 8 games broadcast across the nation in their living rooms on NBC.”

Jenkins also pointed out how much the deal benefits the rest of the university.

“Revenues from these deals not only go to athletics but also for students who need financial assistance to attend Notre Dame.”

Jenkins said the partnership has produced $26 million in financial aid over the years and without it, many students who currently attend and have attended Notre Dame would not be able to.

NBC and former Irish Athletic Director Kevin White had discussions over the winter and NBC produced a proposal to Notre Dame before White left to become AD at Duke. Father Jenkins and the rest of University then took over the negotiations and finalized the deal.

Both sides said White was very important in the process but the partnership between the University and the network made the deal very easy to put together.

Father Jenkins said while the off-site games will be broadcast in primetime, there are no plans for any Notre Dame Stadium home games to be moved to night.

He said that would disrupt campus life too much and he doesn't want to do that. He said off-site games, meanwhile, would cause that to occur and would probably make travel easier on fans.

The original deal with NBC began in 1991. That's when WNDU began broadcasting "Countdown to Kickoff" prior each home game.

NBC's schedule of Notre Dame home games in 2008 features dates against San Diego State (Sept. 6), Michigan (Sept. 13), Purdue (Sept. 27), Stanford (Oct. 4), Pittsburgh (Nov. 1) and Syracuse (Nov. 22).


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