SOUTH BEND, IND., AUG. 28 -- It looks as if the Irish finally will have a chance to see Notre Dame football.
A changing European television market has given Notre Dame a "window of opportunity" to sell its football broadcast rights to a London-based sports channel, Athletic Director Dick Rosenthal said today.
The Fighting Irish have a tentative agreement to have their games televised in six European countries -- including Ireland -- for three years beginning this fall.
The deal, which was concluded Monday, would allow London-based Screensport to use the feeds from Notre Dame games being televised in the United States, according to Rosenthal.
Screensport is an all-sports satellite channel that reaches most of northern Europe.
Rosenthal said a growing number of private television channels in Europe has opened the market for programming, but that the market is still small. He declined to disclose terms of the agreement, but said Notre Dame's earnings would be small.
"I made it very clear we have gotten an agreement on it only verbally, but we have every confidence there will be a final deal," he said.
In February, Notre Dame, whose television rights were held by ABC and ESPN, broke from the 64-team College Football Association to sign a five-year, $37.5 million contract with NBC.
NBC will have exclusive television rights to Notre Dame's home games for five seasons beginning in 1991.
In today's editions of USA Today, Rosenthal was reported as saying that the idea of expanding Notre Dame's visibility in Europe has been in the works for some time.
"We've kind of looked at this for a couple of years," Rosenthal said. "I think it will be a major entry into the TV market in Europe."
Overseas broadcasts will be both live and tape-delayed, depending on starting times and market demand, the newspaper said.
England, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Ireland are the countries targeted to receive the Notre Dame telecasts.