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Notre Dame Season Opener Exclusively On Peacock

The school is airing the rest of its home games on NBC and Peacock.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NBC

Notre Dame football is making their 2021 season opener exclusive to Peacock subscribers only. The network and University announced the changes to the TV schedule on Wednesday. Notre Dame vs. Toledo on Sept. 11 is now only available to Peacock subscribers; the rest of the 2021 home schedule is airing on both NBC and Peacock.

The school aired the annual Irish Blue-Gold Game this spring exclusively on Peacock. 

“Dating back to airing Sunday football replays with Lindsey Nelson, we have always strived for innovation in the media space. Our partnership with NBC and Peacock only solidifies that mission,” Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said. “Bringing Notre Dame football to Peacock is just the next step in the evolution of our relationship.”

Notre Dame and NBC’s decision to make the season opener a Peacock-exclusive falls in line with the network’s other decisions around the OTT app. WWE pay-per-view events have been a big factor in subscriber growth over the past year, as has the Tokyo Olympics, where the men’s basketball games are airing on Peacock. 

In South Bend, Notre Dame has been hard at work building up their new on-demand content service, Fighting Irish TV, which houses replays of Fighting Irish football games along with other exclusive content.

“Fighting Irish TV and Peacock shows the evolution of how media is consumed by our fans and television viewers, alike,” Swarbrick said. “… I see no better example of this than Peacock’s success in delivering fans wall-to-wall content during the Tokyo Olympics.”

Fighting Irish faithful are now tasked with adding another subscription service to their arsenal if they want to watch Notre Dame battle Toledo. Peacock is throwing its weight around with these exclusive offerings to stand out amongst its peers. With a fanbase the size of Notre Dame’s, it was only a matter of time before they incorporated those fans into subscriber growth.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

Jordan Bondurant

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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Sports TV News

NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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