Big Ten Network | Notre Dame & NBC

Big Ten Network

The ACC and SEC certainly are not pioneers in this ever-expanding television revenue movement. In August 2007, the Big Ten Conference launched its own station—the Big Ten Network , a joint venture between the conference and Fox Sports, ushering a new era into TV money.

This initial deal will last for 20 years with the conference remaining the majority owner. In 2008, the BTN grossed $66 million for the (at the time) 11 schools and is projected to generate $2.8 billion over the term of the deal.

Despite having a network all to themselves, Big Ten schools don't have all of their games televised provided on there. Since the home conference holds TV right to each game, BTN cannot show Big Ten non-conference away games. If Michigan State or Wisconsin is playing an ACC or SEC school, the game is probably going to be on ABC or ESPN anyway.

The Big Ten already had a nice contract with ESPN prior to the BTN, but it is worth "only" $1 billion through 2016. They weren't hurting for a national audience, but just wanted to strenthen it.

In a huge wave of irony, the network's first football telecast was the September 1, 2007 game between Michigan and Appalachian State. The Football Championship Series App State team won by blocking a field goal as time expired. If not for the BTN, this game would have not been seen by a national audience.

Notre Dame and NBC

Despite all the money and exposure given to the BCS conferences through their deals, that exposure does not match one school. That's right, despite not having the success of any SEC school over the past 20 years, Notre Dame has the best exposure in college football.

Under its deal with NBC, at least eight games will reach a national broadcast audience. Considering that Notre Dame's schedule is filled with BCS programs like Southern Cal and Michigan, the four games not carried by NBC will have high probability of landing on ABC or ESPN (all were carried in 2011.)

Here is how the contract has progressed:

  1. 1991: The first year NBC shows Notre Dame home games under a five-year deal
  2. 1994: The first five-year extension was announced, covering through 2000
  3. 1997: The second extension was announced, covering through 2005
  4. 2003: The third extension was announced, covering though 2010
  5. 2008: The fourth extension was announced, covering through 2015
  6. All of the money from these deals isn't just to add bigger TVs in the locker room or add to coaches' salaries, though. According to UND.com these revenues have been used to give more than $26 million in financial aid, helping approximately 2400 undergraduate students. The university also endows doctoral fellowships for MBA students.