Friday, June 17, 2011

Take a deep breath on a Notre Dame Network

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.

3 comments:

Sean O said...

Notre Dame isn't foolish. They see what Texas is making on their own network. They know the ND brand is worth more than the Texas brand nationally.

They'll say all the right things now but they are positioning themselves in case they need to make more money to keep up with the BCS conference mega-money deals.

1 Notre Dame home game is worth way more than 1 Texas home game.

Remember in 2006 when Notre Dame played at Air Force and it was on then CSTV? People went nuts...CSTV caved and made it a free preview weekend. Notre Dame is looking for ways to make sure it can make enough $$$ off of football to remain independent.

Matt said...

IIRC, that game wasn't shown in South Bend and other systems that couldn't get the information required to access CSTV in time.

If one ND game could be worth more than a Texas game, can they get enough money from PPV vs. the deal with NBC?

And what is wrong with trying to keep up with the Joneses? Every Big East team could do that using OOC basketball. UConn could go PPV via on-demand vs. selling games to SNY, make additional money off the WBK by out-of-market streaming of CPTV games and other sports.

If other ADs aren't exploring this, they aren't doing their jobs.

Gregory said...

Sean:

Notre Dame may have as passionate or even more passionate fan base than Texas (or similar top tier programs) but ND's challenge is that there are not going to be able to monetize this asset in the same manner that Texas (or conferences such as the Big Ten and Pac 12) are doing. In the original Chicago Tribune interview, Jack Swarbrick even mentioned the key difference between Notre Dame and Texas: Texas' fan base is very concentrated whereas Notre Dame's is spread out. Texas' concentration allows Texas to monetize its brand by getting expanded basic or digital basic cable carriage in Texas, which has 8 million households. Notre Dame's fan base is spread out so it is highly unlikely they will be able to create a similar traditional channel that will obtain a base level of carriage: the fan base concentration does not exist.