Notre Dame's Money...

Submitted by summit595 on May 8th, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Alright so I decided to look this up among the “Big Ten Expansion” hoopla. It’s obviously BS media frenzy cause the Big Ten will only consider Notre Dame and the Irish have that oh-so-lucrative NBC contract – or is it?

Notre Dame’s NBC contract – granted it’s just for football – is worth $9 mil/year.

Big Ten’s ABC contract – which includes some deals for Mens/Womens Bball and Volleyball – is over $100 mil/year. That’s $9.1 mil/year for each Big Ten team.

Add Notre Dame to the Big Ten and I’m pretty sure those contracts improve enough to more than cover those financial issues OR sharing the money evenly appears to balance quite nicely.

Plus the Big Ten gets royalties from the NCAA Tournament which I imagine are comparable, if not more, than what the Big East gives Notre Dame (cause we have the same amount of successful teams in the tournament and less teams to share it with).

The only thing I can’t seem to find is how much the Big East gives Notre Dame for Basketball TV deals – which I don’t think is a whole helluva lot considering they have 16 teams to share the money with and the Men’s Bball regular season doesn’t generate NEARLY the money football does. Not to mention the Big Ten has a pretty huge fan base that will generate comparable money for basketball regardless of the quality of our conference. Also I heard Notre Dame has agreed in the past to join the Big Ten for every sport except Football – which means their only issue appears to be Football finances which I just disproved earlier.

My point: the money issues are non-existent and should be easy to work out. The real reason behind Notre Dame’s independent status must be more about tradition than actual financial concerns.

If anyone knows more details about Notre Dame’s financial arrangements do tell cause this isn’t adding up. Does the BCS pay Notre Dame an unfairly higher amount than the major conferences? Is there football revenue that I didn’t account for which Notre Dame would have to share with a conference if they joined? Do tell.

Conclusion: Notre Dame coming to the Big Ten and adding a conference title game should more than make up any difference in money and actually make Notre Dame more than before. I’m surprised by this and no longer understand the business arguments they put out there.

Also, for the record, I’m completely against conference title games. I think they’re just de-facto playoff patchwork to make money. If you want a 12th game, conference title game, and a bowl game (not to mention a +1 national title format) – isn’t that enough games to just put together an 8 or 16-team playoff? YES IT IS!

Sound off por favor.



May 8th, 2009 at 2:10 PM ^

From what I understand ND currently gets all the dough from the bowl game that the Big Ten members have to split up. So last year they got all the money from the Hawaii Bowl (big deal) but when they went to the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta bowl in back to back season they got the entire pay check so just that one game netted them about 13 million for each game. So considering the insanely sweetheart deal they have with the BCS (which they should totally get rid of) they make out like bandits when they make a BCS compared to if they were in a conference.


May 8th, 2009 at 3:04 PM ^

The latest BCS deal significantly discounted ND's BCS bowl money. They get a small sum on money even if they don't make a BCS bowl, but the amount of money they do make it is much smaller than what other teams get (and then split up among conference members). Link

So the bowl payouts aren't that much bigger than if they were in the Big Ten unless they start making BCS bowls pretty much every year. Of course, that doesn't take into account alumni/fans cutting donations if Notre Dame doesn't stay independent, but I have no idea how significant that money could possibly be.


May 8th, 2009 at 2:16 PM ^

When ND goes to a BCS game, it does not have to share the payout with conference peers. This is unlike UM, which has to share its Rose Bowl payout with the whole Big 10. That's big money; in 2009, $17.5M per team shared amongs conference peers.

A team in a BCS conference gets a share every year due to autobids. If ND thinks it will go to a BCS game more often than once every 12 years*, it makes more sense to shoot for the big individual payout. ND has been to three BCS bowls in the last 10 years (you don't have to win to get paid), so ND is making the right choice at the moment.

*This is a rough calculation - to get a true decision calculus, you would have to factor in at-large probabilities, which is surplus because I think you should get the point with this rough calculation.


May 8th, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

It's true that the rose bowl money gets split throughout the big ten, but so does the money for the 4-5 other bowl games that other teams go to. This doesn't make up the difference, but it makes it a little better than you make it sound.


May 8th, 2009 at 2:47 PM ^

The Big Ten has about 6-7 teams go to Bowls every year, which means they split up a decent sized pot. ND would get that guaranteed every year, but still probably come out a touch behind over a long span.

OTOH - Wouldn't they pick up a decent amount from the Big Ten Network, assuming it makes money? And money from a conference championship game (which would suck, but would definitely happen.)


May 8th, 2009 at 2:59 PM ^

They also do not want to give up their independent schedule. Joining a conference means difficulty scheduling their historical matchups against USC, Boston College, Navy, etc.


May 8th, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

Not to be a ND apologist, but I think some of it has to do with their football tradition. Money usually wins out, but look at us and our demands to keep the Big House free from ads and jumbotrons and stupid "Pump up the volume!" music.

I think they enjoy being independents because they're in a league of their own, pretty much. That said, I don't think the money really is a big issue but I'm sure it has its say. The BCS money they get is huge, when they get it. They must have a pretty set budget and if they get a BCS bowl and money it must be like super-Christmas for them and their faith in God must increase tremendously. Year-in year-out though they would probably have more steady money coming in if they joined the Big Eleven. Plus, I would imagine our overall TV and basketball revenue would increase in some fashion because of the inclusion of ND. Also, I wouldn't be stuck with them on NBC all day on Saturdays.

The FannMan

May 8th, 2009 at 5:32 PM ^

You and blueloosh have it correct, IMHO. Being idependent in football (and scheduling Navy) is part of their tradition. Always has been. Always will be.

From the posts already up, you can argue the money from both sides, particullary since Notre Dame hasn't gone to BCS bowls every year. In fact, schools actually lose money for the smaller bowls when travel, hotel, shipping all the gear, etc. is factored in. In those years, it really helps to have some fellow conference teams going to BCS bowls or the NC game. (So, like, uh, thanks O$U.)

The Doomers will remain out of a conference b/c that is their tradition and they like it that way.

If the Big 12 or whoever, offered us 50 Million to leave the Big Ten would we do it - just for the money? Of course, not. We are, for better or worse, part of the Big Ten. And Notre Dame is indepedent. Maybe we can get a school with a lesser tradition or in a decaying conference or from the MAC to join the Big Ten. We're not getting Notre Dame. They don't want to join.

Now, can we please just go back to making fun of Charile Weis?


May 8th, 2009 at 5:55 PM ^

Also: they won't admit it, but I think ND privately fears being reduced to also-ran status in the Big Ten (or any other conference). I don't think they'd have won any conference titles in the past decade if they'd been a member.


May 8th, 2009 at 5:18 PM ^

Was thinking about how the league would look if ND joined and I kind of like the possibility.

Division I: Michigan, OSU, MSU, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota

Division II: Penn State, Notre Dame, Illinois, NU, IU, Purdue

Keep UM-OSU at the end of the year (now it decides conference championship bid instead of Big10 title, much like OU-Texas). Put ND-Penn State at the end of the year and you have a huge final weekend. Also maintain most of the other rivalries on an annual basis. The divisions don't make geographic sense but who really cares about that.


May 9th, 2009 at 4:23 PM ^

Missing in the discussion above is the payments to each school from the Big Ten Network. The article linked here says each school receives $7.5 million annually from the BTN. See

The Big Ten schools and Notre Dame get money from multiple sources to broadcast their sports teams and participate in bowl games. It'd be interesting to compare the two and see who each program fares, but I suspect the B10 schools do a little better than ND by that measure.

I suspect it really comes down to Notre Dame's desire to remain independent versus maximizing their revenues from the sources mentioned above. Part of it is self-image, but that also relates to alumni and donor relations outside of sports--how would that be changed if ND joined a conference?

One more thing on Notre Dame's schedules to keep in mind. By playing at least three Big Ten teams in September, its very difficult for ND to get major programs in the ACC, SEC and Big XII on their schedule (and no, I'm not including North Carolina or Duke as major football programs at this juncture). Simply put, there are no open dates available before conference play begins and the major programs aren't likely to schedule the Irish mid-season.

There are exceptions to that rule above. USC plays ND in October (in South Bend) or November (in Los Angeles) as part of a long standing tradition. Notre Dame also has its three-game annual obligation with the seven-team Big East for football. The Pac 10 also seems to be somewhat more flexible and its teams will schedule ND in October and November (Stanford, Washington State this year, Arizona State in the future). Notre Dame also plays Navy on an annual basis, but the USNA is hardly a major program. Also, FYI, the series with Boston College will effectively end in 2010--it was not renewed after BC joined the ACC. Oklahoma has a home-and-home scheduled with ND in 2012 (10/27 in Norman) and 2013 (9/28 in South Bend--probably before Big XII conference play though).

What that means is Notre Dame actually doesn't have as much scheduling flexibility as fans might think. When you include three Big Ten teams, three Big East teams and annual games with USC and Navy, you've taken up eight spots--that leaves four open dates in the latter two thirds of the season. What's left?

In 2009, Notre Dame has Nevada and three Pac 10 teams (Washington, Stanford, Washington State). Boston College is on the schedule along with two (not three) Big East teams (Pitt, UConn).

In 2010, ND has Army and Utah and one PAC 10 team besides USC (Stanford) with two open dates in very late October and November. With only one Big East team listed on the schedule (Pittsburgh), you have to imagine at least one more of those open dates will go to a Big East program.

In 2011, the Irish still have three open dates (again in October and November). They have their three Big East games in place--Pittsburgh, South Florida and Connecticut. Army is also on the schedule (to play in Orlando) and unless the annual game with the USNA is replaced, Navy should be on their to fill one of the open dates.

See the link below for future Notre Dame schedules. The other thing that hampers them is the plan to play one neutral site game a year. ND has been able to get Washington State (San Antonio), Arizona State (Arlington, TX), Army (Chicago and Orlando), Navy (Dublin, Ireland) and Baylor (New Orleans) to agree, but those aren't really headliner programs at this point. Most major programs will want to do a home-and-home and network rights preclude NBC from showing a game against a conference team within its geographic area--that's why you see Baylor in New Orleans and the two Pac Ten teams in Texas.

The FannMan

May 9th, 2009 at 5:49 PM ^

True, but the point on scheduling is that ND has more flexibility now than it would in the Big Ten. It can try to avoid playing three or four tough games in a row by throwing a Navy or UConn in there. If they were in the BT, they might get hit with a Michigan, Wisconsin, OSU, Penn State in-a-row death march. Even a great team can get beat up by that kind of a string, even if they win all of them.

I do agree it has more to do with their tradition.


May 9th, 2009 at 6:05 PM ^

I've noticed on a few products such as NCAA video games that there is a separate logo saying the product is "officially licensed by UND" in addition to the NCAA license (and possibly conferences as well but I'm not positive). Does anybody know how this works or how it impacts ND's revenue stream? Do they get a bigger chunk from their merchandise licensing than other schools and would this change if they joined a conference? Guess it is just another money factor to be considered but I don't know the specific details.


May 11th, 2009 at 12:45 PM ^

The real thing here is pride, back in the 20's/30's or something like that ND wanted to join the B10, they were basically told to go away as they were a "Catholic" school. Fast forward 50yrs and the B10 goes to them and says hey we would love for you to join us...Answer is a middle finger and I guess I don't blame them in all honesty was also 50yrs or so ago so get over it and join up.

Side note on divisions if they did join.

I would go like this

division 1: Minn, Wisc, Ill, Iowa, ND, Mich.
division 2: MSU, OSU, PSU, IU, Purdue, NW.

Use names not geography to label the divisions like the NHL used to, i.e. Schembecler and Hayes divisions.