The previous lows for season ratings were both 2.4s — in 2001, the year head coach Bob Davie was purged, and in 2003, the year before coach Tyrone Willing-ham was fired (ND drew a 2.5 the season of his ouster).
Current Irish head coach Charlie Weis’ first season (2005) pulled in a 3.6 rating, the highest rating since the year before the Lou Holtz Era ended (1995, 4.8). The parties are in the second year of a five-year deal, with negotiations for a renewal expected to happen sometime next year.
“You always go into a deal hoping for the best, but these things do occur,” president of NBC Sports Ken Schanzer said of the ratings dip. “The reason we got involved with Notre Dame to begin with was it’s a premier sports property with an unblemished record, and we wanted to be associated with them. We’re as thrilled to be part of Notre Dame football as much this year as in any other year. The reality is Notre Dame continues to be attractive to us and it continues to attract viewers, in part because of the nature of the institution.”
NBC put so much stock in acquiring the right to the Olympics and Notre Dame football that it’s almost sad that the two institutions are floundering. It doesn’t look to turn around for a few years either. Despite the number NBC is sticking by the Irish for some reason.
NBC OK with low ND ratings (South Bend Tribune)