Notre Dame AD confirms new network is on the horizon

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I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing. Doesn’t Notre Dame already have a television network dedicated to its football team?

The answer, of course, is yes. And for you Golden Domer fans who frequent this blog and/or Inside the Irish, the marriage between NBC and Notre Dame is as strong as a Hollywood power couple.

Okay, bad analogy.

But there is truth to the story that Notre Dame is exploring the concept of a “Notre Dame Network”. USA Today ran a brief feature on it, but the South Bend Tribune, as you can imagine, has a more detailed interview with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick (who is a pretty smart guy, by the way; if you have five minutes, it’s well worth your time to read his responses on a variety of subjects).

Below is an excerpt of Swarbrick confirming that a Notre Dame Network is in the works:

“There will be a Notre Dame Network, but people sort of envision that in traditional terms of something dramatic and new. You’ll sort of grow into it as you produce more and more digital programming and distribute it more broadly, and we’re committed to that.

“What is central to our ability to really build out of a viable network is the increased delivery of broadband video to homes. Texas is a cable platform, because they have dense geography. Ours is the inverse of that. We have fans everywhere – not a huge concentration in one cable market. And so we’re going to be really well-positioned, as technology advances here, and we’re spending our time now building our digital programming.”

Imagine: Notre Dame going the non-traditional route.

But, with the way fans are adopting new technologies for their news and entertainment, it makes sense.

I’ve been told the network is still a few years away from coming to fruition and there’s a couple reasons for that. Swarbrick wants to see how this digital/internet television life cycle works out. Web content is pretty hot right now, but a lot of companies are still trying to figure out how to monetize it.

Secondly, Texas’ ESPN-based Longhorn Network will be launching this fall. While it’s doubtful the network will be anything less than a success, Notre Dame might be waiting to see how the whole thing works out.

And, remember, Swarbrick and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds are tight. Rumor had it that when the conference realignment shift happened last summer, Dodds and Swarbrick spoke about starting their own conference, so they’re probably sharing network ideas as well.