SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame fans will see how the rest of
the college football world lives this weekend as they scramble to
find where they can watch the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish play at
For the first time since 1992, a Notre Dame football game will
not be shown by either NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN -- a streak of 169
straight games. The game will be shown on CBS Corp.'s CSTV, a
college sports network normally seen in about 15 million homes.
CSTV is offering its programming to cable operators for free
this weekend, but not all operators are accepting. Brian Bedol,
president and chief executive for CSTV, estimates that the game
will be available to about 30 million to 40 million homes through
cable television, DirecTV or the Dish Network.
For people who live where the game is not available on cable,
such as the South Bend area, they can watch the game on their
computers on a pay-per-view basis. It costs $14.95 for people who
sign up for the game before Saturday and $19.95 for people who sign
up on Saturday.
Bedol said making the game available by computer is nothing new
for CSTV, which will show more than 10,000 college events this year
on CSTV.com. He said the events are viewed by a wide variety of
"Broadband has become ubiquitous and sports fans are taking
advantage of broadband connections more than any other demographic
category. So we find that those who tend to watch the games are
alumni, but a much broader age range than we initially
anticipated," he said.
John Heisler, Notre Dame's senior associate athletic director,
said he has heard from some upset Irish fans who believe the school
has some say in where the game is shown.
"You get a few people who don't understand how it works and
they think we dictate it all," he said. "Some fans just assume
we're the ones who make all these arrangements for every one of our
But he said most people understand that the home team controls
where the games are broadcast. CSTV has the rights to the game
through its contract with the Mountain West Conference. Air Force
is a conference member.
The last time a Notre Dame game wasn't broadcast by the big NBC,
CBS, ABC or ESPN was Oct. 31, 1992, against Navy. The game was
televised only in the South Bend area by WNDU-TV, the NBC affiliate
in South Bend.
Bedol said the idea behind launching CSTV three years ago was to
make college athletics, particularly in lesser-known sports, more
accessible to fans.
"To be able to now, less than three years later, actually have
a Notre Dame football game is very exciting," he said.