College Football on NBC Sports

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College Football on NBC Sports
Also known asNotre Dame Football on NBC/Peacock
Big Ten Saturday on Peacock
Big Ten Saturday Night
Big Ten Football Night (non-Saturday games)
GenreCollege football telecasts
Directed byCharlie Dammeyer
Presented byNoah Eagle
Todd Blackledge
Kathryn Tappen
Terry McAulay
Jac Collinsworth
Jason Garrett
Zora Stephenson
Reggie Smith
Maria Taylor
Ahmed Fareed
Matt Cassel
Michael Robinson
Joshua Perry
Nicole Auerbach
(see more)
Theme music composerJohn Colby (Notre Dame)
Fall Out Boy (Big Ten)
Opening theme“Here Comes Saturday Night” by Fall Out Boy (primetime games only)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons16
Production
ProducerMatt Marvin
Production locationsVarious NCAA stadiums
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time210 minutes or until game ends (inc. adverts)
Production companyNBC Sports
Original release
NetworkNBC
USA Network
CNBC
Peacock
Universo via Telemundo Deportes
(Spanish simulcasts of select games)
ReleaseSeptember 30, 1939 (1939-09-30) –
present
Related
Notre Dame Football on NBC
Big Ten College Countdown

College Football on NBC Sports is the de facto title used for broadcasts of NCAA college football games produced by NBC Sports.

Via its experimental station W2XBS, NBC presented the first television broadcast of American football at any level on September 30, 1939, between the Fordham Rams and the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets. NBC held rights to the NCAA's regular-season game of the week package from 1952–53, 1955–59, and 1964–65. From 1952 to 1988, NBC was the broadcaster of the Rose Bowl Game. In 1990, NBC first acquired the rights to Notre Dame Fighting Irish home games, as well as the Bayou Classic—agreements that have continued to this day, and have most recently been renewed through 2025.

After Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, Versus—later renamed NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)—was merged into the NBC Sports division in 2011. By then, the network's coverage of Division I FBS football (billed as College Football on NBC Sports Network) was limited to a contract with the Mountain West that ended in 2012, and a package of Pac-10 games that had been sub-licensed by the Fox Sports Networks. NBCSN subsequently acquired packages of Division I FCS games from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Ivy League; both contracts ended in 2017.

From 2015 to 2020, NBCSN broadcast selected Notre Dame home games not televised by NBC. Since 2020, NBC Sports has preferred using Peacock or other NBCUniversal channels (such as USA Network and CNBC) to carry college football games not aired by the main network. The Bayou Classic moved from the NBC broadcast network to NBCSN in 2015, but moved back to NBC in 2022 following the closure of NBCSN in December 2021.

In August 2022, NBC Sports announced that it had acquired a share of the Big Ten's football rights beginning in the 2023 season, which will include Big Ten Saturday Night games in primetime on NBC, and a package of games on Peacock (branded as Big Ten Saturday, although some afternoon games will air on NBC with the same branding, especially if a Notre Dame broadcast is in prime time).

History[edit]

First college football TV broadcast, 1939[edit]

On September 30, 1939. NBC broadcast a game between Waynesburg and Fordham on station W2XBS (which would eventually become NBC's flagship station, WNBC) with one camera and Bill Stern[1] as play-by-play announcer. With an estimated audience of 1,000 television sets, it was the first American football game to ever be broadcast via television.[2][3]

1950s and 1960s: NBC game of the week[edit]

Under an argument that television broadcasts of football games would be detrimental to in-person attendance, the NCAA voted to prohibit the broadcast of any regular-season college football game without its permission, and establish an exclusive, NCAA-controlled broadcast rights package, consisting of one game per-week. Teams would be limited to one national television appearance per-season. This "game of the week" package was first sold to NBC in 1952 under a one-year contract for $1.144 million.[4][5][6][7][8] By 1953, the NCAA allowed NBC to add what it called "panorama" coverage of multiple regional broadcasts for certain weeks—shifting national viewers to the most interesting game during its telecast.[9]

The first live regular season college football game to be broadcast coast-to-coast by NBC—featuring Duke at Pittsburgh—was broadcast on September 29, 1951.[10][11]

After NBC lost its college football contract following the 1953 season, NBC regained college football rights in 1955 and aired games through the 1959 season.

Even after losing the rights to regular season college football in both 1959 and 1965, NBC continued to carry postseason football. NBC carried the Blue–Gray Football Classic, an all-star game, on Christmas Day, until dropping the game in 1963 as a protest of the game's policy of segregation.[12]

NBC regained the NCAA contract for the 1964 and 1965 seasons.[citation needed]

1970s and 1980s: Bowl games[edit]

NBC consistently served as the Rose Bowl Game's television home from 1952 until 1988 (when it moved to ABC),[13] and added the Sugar Bowl from 1958 to 1969. Other bowl games broadcast by NBC include the Citrus Bowl, Cotton Bowl Classic, Fiesta Bowl, Gator Bowl, Hall of Fame Bowl, Sun Bowl and the Orange Bowl.

1990s and 2000s: Notre Dame football, Bayou Classic[edit]

In June 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in NCAA v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma that the NCAA's broadcast rights policy violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, and that individual universities and athletic conferences were free to sell the broadcast rights to their games. 67 NCAA schools pooled their broadcast rights as part of a group known as the College Football Association (CFA), which negotiated packages with networks on their behalf.[14][15]

By the late-1980's, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish—which had become one of the most recognizable teams on national television—had grown dissatisfied with the CFA and its contracts, which had an emphasis on regional games. In 1990, the Fighting Irish broke away from the CFA and announced that it would sign a five-year, $38 million contract with NBC to televise its home games beginning in 1991. Analysts felt that given the team's stature, it was inevitable that Notre Dame would eventually choose to negotiate its own television deal. It was also believed that the move would trigger a larger realignment of television rights in college football.[16][14][15] This prediction would be realized when the Big East Conference and Southeastern Conference (SEC) also broke away, and signed with CBS Sports beginning in the 1995 season.[17] The CFA eventually shut down in 1997.[18]

Also in the 1991 season, NBC first acquired rights to the Bayou Classic, an annual rivalry game between Grambling State and Southern; the game was considered to be one of the first major, network television broadcasts of a college football game between historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).[19]

2010s: Addition of NBC Sports Network[edit]

In 2011, Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal, and merged its existing sports networks—including Versus, which was relaunched as NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in January 2012—into the NBC Sports division.[20][21][22] With the expansion of the Pac-10, Fox Sports decided to move some of its games to FX, while Versus would continue holding rights to seven games each season.[23] The sub-licensing agreement ended in the 2012 season, when the newly-renamed Pac-12 began a new 12-year deal with Fox, ESPN, and the new conference-run Pac-12 Networks.[24][25]

Ahead of the 2012 season, NBC Sports reached a five-year contract with the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to carry basketball and FCS football on its networks; football games would be carried on the Comcast SportsNet networks, with five games per-season airing on NBCSN—marking the first college sports contract reached by the merged division.[26][27] NBC Sports also renewed its rights to the Ivy League for two additional seasons, with NBCSN carrying at least six to ten football games per-season.[28]

In 2013, NBCSN lost its share of Mountain West rights to ESPN.[29][30] On April 9, 2013, NBC Sports renewed its broadcasting contract with Notre Dame through the 2025 season. As part of the contract, NBCSN also gained the rights to exclusively broadcast select Notre Dame home games.[31]

In 2014, NBCSN lost a portion of the CAA rights to the American Sports Network, an upstart sports syndication service launched that year by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[32] NBCSN also initially declined to renew its television deal with the Ivy League, which would have left that league without a television broadcaster for the 2014 season; the channel's increased emphasis on Premier League soccer matches reduced the number of opportunities for the network to carry college football on Saturday afternoons. However, NBCSN reversed its decision and added select Ivy League games beginning in late October 2014 in a joint agreement with Fox College Sports. NBCSN lost its Ivy League rights after the 2017 season as the conference signed an agreement with ESPN the following year, with most games being moved to subscription service ESPN+.[33] The CAA left NBCSN for a one-year deal with CBS Sports Digital and Fox Sports Go in 2018, before signing with FloSports in 2019.[34]

In 2015, the Bayou Classic moved from NBC to NBCSN.[35] In 2020, USA Network exclusively aired one Notre Dame game on September 19, 2020, as overflow for NBC's coverage of the 2020 U.S. Open.[36] A second primetime game was briefly preempted from NBC to USA due to coverage of a speech by president-elect Joe Biden.[37] For the 2021 season, Notre Dame's home opener was aired exclusively on NBCUniversal's new streaming service Peacock.[38] NBCSN shut down at the end of 2021, with its sports properties assumed by Peacock and other NBCUniversal channels.[39]

2020s: Acquisition of Big Ten rights[edit]

In 2022, NBC Sports acquired rights to the inaugural HBCU NYC Football Classic game and HBCU Pigskin Showdown all-star game; both events aired on Peacock and CNBC.[40][41] As part of a contract extension for the Bayou Classic, the game moved back to NBC from the defunct NBCSN.[42]

In August 2022, it was reported that NBC Sports, along with CBS and current top rightsholder Fox, were the frontrunners for shares of the Big Ten's next round of media rights beginning in 2023.[43][44] On August 18, 2022, the Big Ten officially announced that it had reached seven-year deals with Fox, CBS, and NBC to serve as its media partners beginning in the 2023–24 season. NBC will air primetime games throughout the regular season under the title Big Ten Saturday Night. All telecasts will be available on Peacock, while eight Big Ten games per-season (including four intraconference games) will be exclusive to Peacock. NBC will carry the Big Ten championship game in 2026, while the contract also includes a package of Big Ten basketball games and Olympic sports coverage for Peacock.[45][46]

On February 2, 2023, NBC announced Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen as the lead broadcast team for Big Ten Saturday Night.[47] Its inaugural game aired on September 2, 2023, featuring the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Penn State Nittany Lions.[48] On July 20, NBC announced that Maria Taylor, Matt Cassel, Joshua Perry, Michael Robinson, and Ahmed Fareed will headline B1G College Countdown, which will serve as the pre-game and halftime show for Big Ten matchups. The show will be named College Countdown for Notre Dame games.[49] Following the example of NBC's Sunday Night Football, the network announced in August 2023 that Fall Out Boy would perform the theme song for Big Ten Saturday Night, a cover of "Here Comes Saturday Night" by Italian band Giuda.[50][51]

On September 23, 2023, Ohio State at Notre Dame was broadcast as NBC's primetime game of the week; although contractually part of NBC's Notre Dame package, the network nonetheless assigned the Big Ten Saturday Night commentary team to the game (with NBC's usual Notre Dame commentators Jac Collinsworth and Jason Garrett assigned to an afternoon Big Ten game aired by NBC in lieu of Big Ten Saturday Night).[52][53]

Current rights[edit]

On-air talent[edit]

Sources:[54][49]

On-site[edit]

Play-by-play

Analysts

Sideline

  • Kathryn Tappen: lead Big Ten, alternate Notre Dame
  • Zora Stephenson: lead Notre Dame, alternate Big Ten
  • Corey Robinson: lead HBCU
  • Lewis Johnson: alternate HBCU and Big Ten
  • Caroline Pineda: alternate Big Ten

Rules analysts

  • Terry McAulay: lead Big Ten and Notre Dame
  • Reggie Smith: alternate Big Ten and Notre Dame

Studio[edit]

Hosts

Analysts

Insider

  • Nicole Auerbach

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BILL STERN (Audio) - Gold Time Radio - Jim Ramsburg". Jim Ramsburg.
  2. ^ "First televised football game, Waynesberg vs Fordham, 1939". American Sportscasters Online. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Vander Voort, Eric (September 29, 2015). "First televised football game featured Fordham, Waynesburg in 1939". NCAA.com.
  4. ^ Zimbalist, Andrew (15 January 2001). Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports. p. 94. ISBN 9781400823079.
  5. ^ Wolters, Larry (June 12, 1952). "June 12, 1952 - TELEVISION NEWS AND VIEWS". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ Fleisher, Arthur A. (15 June 1992). The National Collegiate Athletic Association: A Study in Cartel Behavior. p. 53. ISBN 9780226253268.
  7. ^ Weber, Bruce (May 27, 2015). "Walter Byers, Ex-N.C.A.A. Leader Who Rued Corruption, Dies at 93". New York Times.
  8. ^ Branch, Taylor (October 2011). "The Shame of College Sports". The Atlantic.
  9. ^ "Why Football on TV is Limited". Look. October 20, 1953(The "primary purpose is to reduce the impact of the television upon game attendance"){{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  10. ^ Pedersen, Paul M.; Parks, Janet B.; Quarterman, Jerome; Thibault, Lucie, eds. (2011). Contemporary Sport Management (4th ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7360-8167-2. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
  11. ^ Watterson, John Sayle (November 14, 2002). College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy. JHU Press. p. 270. ISBN 9780801871146.
  12. ^ "Blue-Gray Telecast Is Killed". The Anniston Star. Anniston, Alabama. UPI. November 9, 1963. Retrieved June 1, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "ABC-TV to smell the Roses". Idahonian. Moscow. Associated Press. July 1, 1988. p. 1B. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Sandomir, Richard (25 August 1991). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Notre Dame Scored a $38 Million Touchdown on Its TV Deal". The New York Times.
  15. ^ a b "ANALYSIS : Notre Dame's Deal Shouldn't be a Shock". Los Angeles Times. 8 February 1990.
  16. ^ Carter, Bill (6 February 1990). "Notre Dame Breaks Ranks on TV Football Rights". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Ivan Maisel (February 12, 1994). "SEC Officially Leaves CFA; Big East Will Follow Soon". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  18. ^ Tom Dienhart; Mike Huguenin (June 30, 1997). "CFA bids farewell after accomplishing its goals". The Sporting News. p. 62.
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  20. ^ David Goetzl (May 4, 2011). "NBC Sports Brand Going Local". MediaPost. MediaPost Publications. Archived from the original on May 9, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
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  23. ^ "FX to Carry College Football Games". Deadline Hollywood. March 28, 2011.
  24. ^ "Pac-10 finalizes 12-year TV deal with ESPN, Fox". ESPN.com. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  25. ^ "Commissioner announces Pac-12 Network". Orange County Register. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  26. ^ "NBC Sports Group gets Colonial Athletic Association coverage". SportsPro. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  27. ^ "CAA increasing national exposure with NBC Sports Network deal". February 14, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  28. ^ "The Ivy League, NBC Sports Group Renew National Television Agreement". 2012-05-07. Archived from the original on 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  29. ^ "Sources: MWC close to 7-year deal with ESPN". ESPN.com. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2022-08-14.
  30. ^ Hinxman, Dan. "Mountain West, ESPN reach deal on TV rights". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2022-08-14.
  31. ^ Hamilton, Brian (April 18, 2013). "Notre Dame, NBC renew deal through 2025". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  32. ^ Michael Malone (July 17, 2014). "Sinclair Launches American Sports Network". Broadcasting and Cable. NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  33. ^ "Smart TV: ESPN+ to air over 1,100 Ivy games". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
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  40. ^ Sports, HBCU (2022-08-10). "NBC Sports to broadcast HBCU football all-star game". Retrieved 2022-08-15.
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  50. ^ Bowenbank, Starr (2023-08-10). "Fall Out Boy to Star in NBC's 'B1G Saturday Night' Show Open". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-09-24.
  51. ^ Reedy, Joe. "Big Ten is ready for maximum exposure with games on NBC, CBS and Fox". USA TODAY. Associated Press. Retrieved 2023-09-24.
  52. ^ Axelrod, Ben (2023-09-22). "Noah Eagle dismisses Notre Dame homerism on NBC, says he'll be 'neutral Noah' for Ohio State game". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  53. ^ Lucia, Joe (2023-09-21). "Your 2023 college football Week 4 announcing schedule". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2023-09-24.
  54. ^ "NBC SPORTS NAMES COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME ANNOUNCERS FOR 2023 SEASON ON NBC AND PEACOCK". NBC Sports Pressbox. 2023-08-02. Retrieved 2023-08-23.

External links[edit]