Posted by Tom Fornelli
Over the last few seasons we've seen college football conferences launch their own television networks as the revenues from college football continue to grow and grow. It's a trend that hasn't been limited to entire conferences, either, as Texas will soon be launching its own Longhorns Network featuring nothing but Texas Longhorns programming. Texas' longtime rival Oklahoma has plans to follow suit.
Now there's a third school looking to throw their hat in the ring. Notre Dame, the school that can be credited with pushing college football in this direction after signing its own exclusive deal with NBC in 1991, apparently has plans for its own network. In an interview with South Bend radio station -- via the Chicago Tribune-- WSBT AM 960, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick revealed the school's plans.
Q: We spoke a few months ago about Texas’ network deal. What about a Notre Dame Network? What’s the reality of that? What are some of the ideas that are being brainstormed about with that right now?
A: There will be a Notre Dame Network, but people sort of envision that in traditional terms of something dramatic and new. You’ll sort of grow into it as you produce more and more digital programming and distribute it more broadly, and we’re committed to that.
What is central to our ability to really build out of a viable network is the increased delivery of broadband video to homes. Texas is a cable platform, because they have dense geography. Ours is the inverse of that. We have fans everywhere – not a huge concentration in one cable market. And so we’re going to be really well-positioned, as technology advances here, and we’re spending our time now building our digital programming.
It does make sense for Notre Dame to pursue this option, as having its own network would be another revenue source. Plus, as Swarbrick himself states, Notre Dame is a national program. While Texas may have some fans around the country, the majority of the school's fan base can be found within Texas' borders. That's simply not the case for Notre Dame, where fans range from New York to Florida to Chicago and to California. This is thanks in large part due to the school's landmark deal with NBC back in 1991, and now it seems that Notre Dame would like to keep all that revenue to itself. Of course, when the school plans on launching the network remains to be seen, as its current deal with NBC runs through 2015.