For the fourth time since they vowed to love and honor each other in 1990, Notre Dame and NBC Sports renewed their television vows on Thursday, guaranteeing that the university's home football games will remain on the network through the 2015 season.
The five-year extension came with a birth announcement: NBC will carry an extra "home" game each year, in San Antonio in 2009, at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in 2013, and maybe at Soldier Field in Chicago and Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., in between. These off-site home games will push NBC's rights fee higher and let Notre Dame collect most of the gate receipts from the Alamodome and its other homes away from South Bend, Ind.
The traveling home game will give NBC eight Fighting Irish broadcasts a season and push its payments -- which are never publicly disclosed but are believed to provide Notre Dame with much more TV cash than any other football program -- much higher than the current deal, which will end in 2010. NBC will benefit from selling the advertising time for the off-site games at potentially higher prices because they will be the only prime-time home games played by Notre Dame, which will not stage them in South Bend.
Not a bad deal for a program that went 3-9 last season.
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