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NBC and Big 10 deal could help keep Notre Dame Football independent

Money matters

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Toledo at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There appears to be some movement in terms of a new media rights deal for the Big 10, and Notre Dame Football’s television partner NBC is in the thick of it all.

It was first reported back in February that NBC was very interested in pursuing a deal with the Big 10. From the jump it seemed as if a new TV deal for the Big 10 was going to involve some kind of combination — most likely FOX and one of either CBS or NBC.

As hot as the news was, talks and negotiations needed to happen, and certainly ESPN wasn’t just going to step aside. It was something that hung up in the air until the big news that the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans were going to leave the PAC 12 for the Big 10. Conference realignment rumors and micro-moves were beginning, and all of a sudden the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were supposedly destined to join the Big 10 (according to most media members with a wish list).

As the Irish deflected throughout a chaotic week, news started to creep out that there was a big dollar amount that could be in store for the Irish with a new NBC deal. That theoretical deal would provide enough money ($75 million) to make independence still make sense for Notre Dame.

That seemed to quiet things down a bit, and the feverish realignment race slowed down as everyone sat down to see what Notre Dame and Jack Swarbrick might do.

This news about a possible Big 10 deal that includes FOX, CBS, and NBC started to bring out the, “Notre Dame has to join the Big 10 now” crowd. Except... that doesn’t seem like the vibe I’m feeling.

If CBS is willing to pay $350 million for 13 games — how much is 7 Notre Dame games worth? The Irish are still one of the biggest brands in all of sports, and with lead-in games on the horizon from nooner Big 10 matchups... there is a ton of worth there. Those 7 games could be worth half of CBS’s deal whichj would be $150 million — double of what we thought was a number that would keep Notre Dame independent.

Anyone that thinks these moves by NBC, CBS, and FOX automatically puts the Irish in a corner and forces its allegiance to Big 10 membership really isn’t thinking things through far enough. I’m not saying it will never happen, but as long as Notre Dame has access to the playoffs, a new big deal from NBC solidifies the Irish as the ultimate independent football program.