NOTRE DAME — Fighting Irish Saturdays on NBC will continue until at least 2025.
The University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports Group announced Thursday, April 18, that it has renewed its contract for college football. The extention begins in 2016. NBC first partnered with ND for telecast rights for home football games in 1991.
“While our relationship with NBC Sports is longstanding, the more recent merger between NBC and Comcast has opened up additional avenues to expand the breadth of Notre Dame-related sports programming on NBC platforms,” Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick, said in a prepared statement. “Specifically, the evolution of the NBC Sports Network has provided opportunities for special programming featuring inside looks at our football team and several other Notre Dame sports programs and in-depth profiles on the unsung heroes of Notre Dame athletics. These are examples of the growth of our partnership, and we look forward to collaborating on additional projects and distribution strategies in seasons to come.”
“Coming off one of Notre Dame’s best and most dramatic seasons in decades, we could not be more proud to extend this historic partnership, which continues to be one of the most innovative in sports-media history,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “We are particularly excited that this extension offers enhanced rights that allow us to bring Notre Dame Football to fans on more platforms than ever before.”
Notre Dame home telecasts averaged 4.4 million viewers on Saturday, up 69 percent from 2011 ratings, according to NBC. It was the best performance on NBC in seven years when the viewership was 5.2 million in 2005.
On Monday, NBC announced that Dan Hicks will replace Tom Hammond as the lead play-by-play announcer on the network’s Notre Dame broadcasts in 2013.
Hicks’ first assignment comes Saturday, when NBC Sports Network airs Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold game.
Hammond has been the lead Notre Dame announcer for NBC since 1992.
Hicks has been NBC’s top golf announcer and a major part of the network’s Olympic coverage, covering swimming. He has previous experience with football, doing play-by-play of NFL game when NBC had the AFC package in the 1990s.
Hicks will join analyst Mike Mayock and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan on Notre Dame games.