Notre Dame Football: How We'd Program the New ND Network
With a Notre Dame digital network looming on the horizon, we should take this opportunity to look at some of the programing that would be necessary to fill 24 hours a day seven days a week.
While that sounds like a lot of time to fill, one must remember that the channel would not be exclusive to Notre Dame football. A network such as this could be used to give more exposure to other less watched sports.
Women's athletics could very well be the biggest beneficiary of a Notre Dame network. An increase in their already strong fan-bases would bring untapped revenue in attendance and apparel.
I asked Notre Dame Head Women's soccer Coach Randy Waldrum what impact a Notre Dame network would have on his team, which won the National Championship this past season. Coach Waldrum stated, "Having a Notre Dame network would be incredible for the University and all it's athletic programs. Now not only football would get week to week exposure but all of our Olympic sports as well."
When Skylar Diggins took the nation by storm this past March as the Lady Irish reached the NCAA Women's basketball finals, the rest of the nation saw what some Irish fans already knew. They saw Diggins incredible talent. The fact is though, that many of the people that became fans of Diggins were actually Notre Dame fans who had not been exposed to Women's hoops.
Give the people what they want, 24 hours of Notre Dame sports, history, and interviews.
Jim Sheridan is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes have been obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coaches Corner with Allen Pinkett
This program would feature former Notre Dame running back and current color man on Irish radio broadcasts, Allen Pinkett.
Pinkett sits down on a weekly basis with Coach Kelly to discuss the previous week's activities as well as the game plan for the week ahead.
A place to discuss injuries, and personnel changes, this show would not be limited to Coach Kelly. Depending on that is going on in the program, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco or offensive coordinator Charley Molnar could make this a very interesting program.
Alan Pinkett is the perfect host; he has an inside pulse on both the University and the football program.
Rocket Ismail's Inspiration Hour
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of hearing Raghib Ismail speak knows how motivational he can be. Rocket can pump up a crowd like no other.
This show would air before the weekly pep rally which is also broadcast. Rocket uses his charisma to get the fans in a frenzy, in the comfort of their own living rooms.
Not a football only program, this show gets fans ready for big games in every sport.
During their run to the finals this past season, the nation fell in love with Skylar Diggins, Mary Forr and Natalie Novosel.
Many of the people catching their first glimpse of the Lady Irish were members of Irish Nation. While the Lady Irish had tremendous fan support in 2011, imagine if all of their games had been televised.
This holds true for the women's soccer team who won their third National Championship in 2011. Being able to watch these champions receive their rings could be the inspiration for a youngster at home to follow her dreams.
"A Notre Dame network would take us to the next level and keep us on the cutting edge of collegiate athletics," said Coach Waldrum.
Focus on Recruiting
This program is a must for die hard Irish football fans.
Blue & Gold Illustrated recruiting analyst Jason Sapp and Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune talk about recruiting. They cover all the bases about what recruits are on the radar. Contributions by Bleacher Report's Featured Columnist Jim Sheridan keeps things interesting.
Highlight's include recaps of what commits did in their games the previous week, and Sheridan adding his classic interviews.
The occasional appearance by Tom Lemming makes this show worth the price of subscription in itself.
Imagine a die hard Notre Dame fan living in Texas being able to tune in on game day morning and being able to watch the bag pipe band perform live at ten in the morning.
I asked Pipe Major, J.P. MacPherson what it would mean to the band to be able to reach into homes across the country. MacPherson said, "To be able to reach that many people would be the ultimate goal, it is everything that we work and practice for. We don't play for profit or scholarship, this is our opportunity to support our school by doing what we love."
Viewers that have never been to Notre Dame for game day could watch the players walk from the Basilica to the stadium, and follow the band as they enter the stadium, if only in their mind's eye.
Just imagine the Irish Guard seemingly march right through your living room. Loyal fans across the nation would fall even deeper in love with Our Lady's University.
Games of the Century: All Time Classics
All-time classic games from the comfort of your own home.
As this year marks the 45th anniversary of the game of the century that pitted the top ranked Irish versus No. 2 Michigan State, relive again, or for the very first time, this phenomenal power struggle.
Tune in to watch Kelly Tripuka weave his magic on the basketball court in the late seventies. Watch Tripuka lead the Irish in scoring for four years, each year making the NCAA Tournament.
Viewer interaction could be included. Viewers vote on what games they would like to see from week to week.
History of Notre Dame
Get the inside story about how Father Sorin came to build this wonderful university with his bare hands.
Listen to Notre Dame historians such as Jim Langford inform the viewer about the process of dredging the lake to make the bricks used in the construction of the original buildings.
Tales about characters of days gone by, such as Father Bernard Lange, are laid out for the viewer to ponder. Every episode ends with the viewer knowing more about the University of Notre Dame that they ever could have expected.
Discussion about the architecture of the Main Building and the residence halls, as well as the Basilica itself, are insightful, and learning the history of the Grotto is a must.
Where Are They Now
Much like the segment in Blue and Gold Illustrated, this show offers viewers a chance to see what former Irish legends are doing today.
This biography-type program will follow the careers of people like Alan Page. Children will dream of greatness as they learn that Page went from the hallowed halls of Notre Dame on to the NFL. This nine time Pro-Bowler did not stop there.
Watch as the former football star become Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Justice Page goes from being the first African-American to hold that seat in Minnesota to becoming the highest ever vote-getter in Minnesota history.
This show is an inspiration for young and old alike.
Nightly Rosary from the Grotto
The nightly Rosary at the Grotto is a time for prayer and meditation.
This program is for everyone from shut-ins to people that have gotten away from prayer. Tune in every evening to say a Rosary. It will do you good.
Behind the Scenes with Ryan Grooms
See what it takes to get everything ready for the game on Saturday. Head equipment manager Ryan Grooms shows the viewer everything from painting the helmets to getting everything ready for Notre Dame fantasy camp.
Those who think being equipment manager of the Irish is a part time job will learn from the start that there is no downtime.
The Notre Dame network could be one of the most important things that athletic director Jack Swarbrick has done to date.
The trickle down effect could be endless. As coach Waldrum said,"The country would begin to see interviews with our student-athletes, and specials on them outside of the playing arena. They would become more humanized for all to see, and we have some incredible student-athletes on this campus doing much more than just winning games."
The University of Notre Dame is well known for giving one hundred percent to projects it gets involved in. If done the right way, and there is little doubt that it wouldn't be done right with AD Swarbrick heading it up, the Notre Dame network could bring both education and joy to viewers all over the country.