Notre Dame’s ‘Fighting Irish TV’ Off to a Big Start; School Eyeing Paid Subscriptions
It turns out that Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans really like Notre Dame football — and they’re watching it in spades on their school’s new dedicated streaming service.
According to a report in the Sports Business Journal, “Fighting Irish TV” generated 58,000 minutes of viewed content during its first day of operation. For comparison, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish YouTube channel, which has over 53,000 subscribers, generated 32,000 minutes for the entire month of March. Not a bad first impression.
Fighting Irish TV, the self-proclaimed “Netflix for Notre Dame,” was launched in April for free download on Google Play, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. The early returns have Notre Dame brass thinking about a subscription component for 2022 or perhaps as soon as later in 2021. The two-pronged attack of sponsored free content and subscription-supported content presents an opportunity to generate massive revenue for the school.
“With the access and ownership rights we have to our content, we went into this thinking there was a long-term revenue goal,” said Rob Kelly, Notre Dame’s senior associate athletic director who oversees all aspects of the Irish’s media and branding. “Did we know three years ago that this would be the way we’d do it?” Kelly said. “Probably not, but we’ve tried to be nimble and try different things, while also being attentive to what’s happening in the industry. … No one is expecting that in Year 1 or Year 2 that we’ll be rivaling revenue from ticketing or sponsorship or TV rights, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Notre Dame’s success has other schools looking into streaming services of their own. SBJ has reported that Atlantic Coast Conference champion Clemson is now interested in its own dedicated streaming service and says a “Clemson+” service could launch as early as this season:
Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish TV has seen promising results early on, prompting other schools to look into OTT platforms. Clemson is one such school, and sources say the Tigers could launch Clemson+ as early as this football season (@SmittySBJ).https://t.co/7QLJB2VPNe pic.twitter.com/63jb7gSPfl— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) July 21, 2021
The success of collegiate athletic streaming has also affected the Big East, the previous collegiate home for many of Notre Dame’s other sports (the university moved many of its sports outside of football and hockey to the ACC in 2013.) On Wednesday, the Big East Conference announced an agreement with live sports streaming service FloSports to become the home of the Big East Digital Network (BEDN) presented by SoFi for the 2021-22 academic year.
They will air regular-season men’s and women’s basketball games, including the Big East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, as well as Big East Olympic sport championships. The FloSports TV app is available for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android.
The next big event for Fighting Irish TV will no doubt be the football team’s Spring Game, scheduled for May 1, 2022. You can watch the game on Fighting Irish TV, as well as Peacock.
Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.
Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.
The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.
The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.