NBC extended its contract for Notre Dame home games through 2015 this week. That means that the Peacock Network and the Fighting Irish will reach 25 years on their agreement.
This despite the Notre Dame games giving NBC the lowest ratings since the network began broadcasting the games. Notre Dame went 3-9 last season, and produced an average of a 1.9 rating and a 5 share.
Charlie Weiss could start this fellow Notre Dame Alum at Quarterback and NBC would still pay to broadcast the games.
Financial details were not revealed, but Notre Dame was getting $9 million a year for six home games each season. The Fighting Irish sweetened the deal to seven home games a season, along with an eighth offsite game played at a neutral stadium. This game is the deal maker for NBC, since it will be played at night. For Notre Dame, its another game in prime time, in an important recruiting area.
So far, Notre Dame has two of these "neutral" games scheduled and both are in the State of Texas. They will play Washington State in San Antonio in 2009, and then will meet Arizona State in Jerry Jones' new stadium in Arlington in 2014.
The NBC-Notre Dame pact began in 1991. The last time the Fighting Irish won a bowl game was the 1994 Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M. The Irish have finished the season ranked 10th or higher just three times in the 17 years its home games have been televised on NBC, and have a 59% winning percentage since Lou Holtz left.
NBC insists its about the brand name, and not about the year-to-year results. The new details of the extention obviously point to both sides knowing that the Notre Dame brand name fades with every year of mediocrity and there are new generations of viewers (and recruits) who need to be convinced that the Fighting Irish belong among the elite.