Over the past month, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has given multiple interviews and the topic of conference and school TV networks comes up. And in each interview, Swarbrick has indicated that Notre Dame is indeed working on something. Here's one of those interviews. Before we go absolutely bonkers over another school doing a network, let's look at some key items in Swarbrick's interview.
1) Swarbrick touts the increased availability of broadband internet in homes as a reason to start this network. Not TV, but internet. And that's a huge thing to keep in mind. Notre Dame does well in some eastern and midwestern urban areas, but the fan base is so spread out across the nation that its extremely tough to justify a 24/7 television network.
2) It likely wouldn't have football games, at least not live games. Probably wouldn't have men's basketball games either except for a handful of home non-conference games. Notre Dame makes enough money through the television contracts with NBC for football and ESPN via its membership in the Big East. Notre Dame's other competitive programs (women's basketball, baseball and hockey) have some games on TV, but the vast majority are streamed for free via http://UND.com. Those sports, along with archived football games, are what would be covered on a Notre Dame network and that's what they want to make money on. Coaches shows and press conferences could also be content.
So what it looks like Notre Dame wants to do is take that coverage from their athletics website and find ways to generate revenue from it. Swarbrick notes that increased broadband internet is what he wants to exploit, but remember that it isn't just the increased available delivery method, its the increased number of devices that can be exploited too. Broadband internet isn't just a laptop or a desktop computer, its a tablet like an iPad, various smartphone platforms and home entertainment options like Roku, Xbox and Playstation 3. Internet ready televisions are on the market, ready to take the internet as a valid delivery method to the next level. Being multi-platform using broadband internet is what Swarbrick must look to maximize to get a Notre Dame network to the masses.
I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this one too.