Since 1991, NBC has aired all Notre Dame home football games. This has ensured that all of its home games are on national broadcast television, a unique configuration amongst American sports. Most of the games are aired in the afternoon, usually starting at 3:30 EST/EDT. Recently beginning in 2011, one significant home game per year is aired during prime time with a 7:30 EDT start time. The games are typically planned around NBC’s schedule of such events as the Ryder Cup or Breeders' Cup, and include full-game replays on NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus.
In 1991, the initial contract was sold to NBC for $38 million for 5 years or $7.6 million a year. Notre Dame got half of the latter figure and its opponent got the other half.
The 1993 NBC broadcast game between #1 Florida State and #2 Notre Dame is still the most-watched regular season college football game since 1991.
In 2009, Notre Dame began to play one home game each year at a neutral site outside of Indiana for recruitment and exposure purposes. These games are broadcast nationally on NBC as part of the television deal with 7:30 EST/EDT start times. This was initiated with a late October 2009 game against Washington State at the Alamodome in San Antonio. A November 2010 matchup against Army at Yankee Stadium, which NBC also televised, was also a Notre Dame home game, despite West Point's proximity to the Tri-State area. Notre Dame battled Miami at Soldier Field in 2012 and met Arizona State at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in 2013.
Although in 2011 NBC Notre Dame game ratings had slumped to historic lows to coincide with average performances on the football field over the past several years, the recent resurgence in the program under Brian Kelly in 2012 has resulted in NBC's highest viewership since 2005.
In 2011, sister channel Versus (now the NBC Sports Network) began airing rebroadcasts of past Notre Dame games, including those aired on NBC over the years. Previously via NBC's rights deal, related cable network Universal HD aired same-week reruns of Notre Dame home games until the January 2011 NBC-Comcast merger. The deal has also been expanded to cover some games of the university's hockey team.
NBC Sports recently renewed the Notre Dame contract to run through the 2025 season. This extension is a ten year commitment, which is double the length of prior extensions. This includes a minimum of 7 home games to be broadcast per season, with some games to air on NBC Sports Network as well. While most games traditionally are held at 3:30 PM on Saturdays, some games will be during primetime. Revenue from the deal will continue to aid non-athlete student financial assistance.