Feb. 22, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame and ISP Sports, have approved a new, 10-year business partnership in which ISP will become the new exclusive national rights-holder for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts.

The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season — with ISP managing, producing and syndicating Notre Dame’s national football radio network.

ISP, the largest collegiate-only sports marketing firm in the country, represents athletics marketing and multi-media rights for more than 40 Division I-A universities, five major conferences (including two Bowl Championship Series conferences, the BIG EAST Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference) and two postseason football bowl games.

ISP takes over for Westwood One, which had held Irish football radio rights since 1968, originally as the Mutual Broadcasting Company.

“The rapidly changing faces of the various media make radio a critical element in our overall game plan when it comes to exposure and public relations for Notre Dame athletics and, in this case, Irish football,” said athletics director Kevin White.

“As we spent a full year assessing the marketplace, we’re convinced that ISP has become and will continue to be the pre-eminent stakeholder when it comes to sales and marketing within collegiate athletics.

“Ben Sutton (ISP chairman and CEO) and his staff work solely in the collegiate market, and they are extremely passionate about their dedication to the college game.

“We’re grateful to Westwood One for all it has done to help us grow Notre Dame football. We’re even more excited about the prospect of further growing the radio portion of the business in partnership with ISP.”

“This partnership represents a milestone for our company,” Sutton said. “We could not be more pleased to have such a distinguished university, and an athletic program of such rich tradition, as part of our family of schools. We are honored by the confidence that (Notre Dame president) Father (John) Jenkins, Kevin White and their outstanding staff have expressed in us by allowing ISP to represent the Fighting Irish.”

ISP has named Ron Murphy the general manager for the Notre Dame ISP Sports Network. Murphy brings over 30 years of advertising sales and management experience, having worked for several notable companies such as CBS, Yankee Entertainment and Sports (Y.E.S.) and FOX Sports Net.

Murphy joins ISP’s team of more than 250 professional sales people dedicated to the collegiate market, with relationships with more than 800 radio stations (and more than 100 television stations) around the country.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., ISP has nearly 50 sales offices around the country. Sutton founded the company in 1992. Among ISP clients are seven ACC athletic programs (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest), five from the BIG EAST (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Villanova), five from the Southeastern Conference (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) and three from the Pacific-10 Conference (California, UCLA, Washington). In 2007, the BIG EAST Conference and ISP announced a six-year agreement involving virtually all conference marketing and sales.

Notre Dame remains the only college football program to have its games broadcast on a truly national radio network of linear stations. Joe Boland, former sports director at WSBT in South Bend, originated the Irish Football Network in 1948. In 1956, the Mutual Broadcasting System first carried Notre Dame games on approximately 560 stations. From 1958-67, the ABC Radio Network carried Irish games on a similar-sized network. Mutual began carrying Notre Dame games again in 1968 (that year with 253 affiliates). Mutual eventually became Westwood One (now a publicly held company managed and partly owned by CBS Radio).

— ND —