The Big Ten Doesn’t Need Notre Dame
On Thursday, the Big Ten finalized its new TV rights contract, worth an industry-altering $7 billion over seven years.
The deal reportedly has escalators built in that will increase the payout once USC and UCLA formally join the conference in 2024. The payout will also increase if the Big Ten continues to expand.
Those escalators are expected to increase the revenue-sharing check each Big Ten member gets from the reported $54 million this year to the $100 million range within a matter of a few years.
The news comes two days after Sports Business Journal reported Notre Dame will remain independent in football for the foreseeable future, thanks to an expected new TV contract with a mutual business partner Notre Dame now shares with the Big Ten: NBC.
The timing represents a perfect juxtaposition: Notre Dame spurning the Big Ten yet again, just the latest instance over the conference's three-decade-plus pursuit of the Fighting Irish, followed by the Big Ten resetting the major college sports revenue market.
It just goes to show that the Big Ten doesn't need Notre Dame.
That doesn't mean the league wouldn't love to count the Fighting Irish among its members. Notre Dame is perhaps the biggest, most recognizable, richest brand in all of the big-business industry that is college football. It's a luxury the Big Ten would love to have. Adding Notre Dame would represent a windfall for the Big Ten in terms of economics, academics, prestige, and virtually every other positive quality.
But the Big Ten is doing just fine without the Irish, as evidenced by Thursday's groundbreaking TV deal. It will continue to do just fine without Notre Dame as it's set up to remain the driving force in major college sports going forward. Can the same be said for Notre Dame?