NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Look for a couple of new wrinkles connected with football at the University of Notre Dame in 2011.
The Irish for the first time in 21 years will play a night game at Notre Dame Stadium – and the University for the first time will go to variable game ticket pricing for its home football schedule.
The Notre Dame-USC game slated for Oct. 22, 2011, at Notre Dame Stadium will kick off at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to play host to a home night game. While we will do this only on a selective basis, we think it is important to occasionally use the platform of a prime-time game to promote the University and our football program,” said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
“When you look back at the previous home night games we’ve played, a number of those have been hallmark events in the history of our program. We are confident this year’s USC game will continue that tradition.”
Meanwhile, tickets for three of Notre Dame’s six home football games in 2011 – Sept. 17 against Michigan State, Oct. 22 versus USC and Nov. 19 against Boston College – will cost $80. Prices for games Sept. 3 against South Florida, Oct. 8 versus Air Force and Oct. 29 against Navy will be $70, the same as the single-game price in 2010 for all games at Notre Dame Stadium.“The reality of our budgeting process is that football ticket revenue is critical to our ability to contribute to the University’s academic programs and finance our other varsity sports. We are fortunate in that every Notre Dame home football game has been sold out for more than four decades,” said Swarbrick.
“In that light, we’ve determined this is the most prudent model to enable us to accomplish our overall budgeting goals while continuing to make sure that our games remain affordable. This approach allows us to provide our fans with options.”
The Oct. 22 Notre Dame-USC game will mark the first night game at Notre Dame Stadium since Michigan came to Notre Dame to play under the lights in 1990 (top-ranked Notre Dame won that game 28-24 over the fourth-rated Wolverines).
The other previous home night games came in 1982 against Michigan (Dave Duerson’s late interception preserved the Irish win), 1984 against Miami, 1985 and 1987 against Michigan State (Tim Brown returned two punts for touchdowns in ’87 to kick-start his Heisman Trophy bid), and 1988 against Michigan (Reggie Ho’s late, game-winning field goal opened Notre Dame’s national championship campaign) and Stanford.
A number of other late-afternoon starts between ’82 and ’96 required the portable Musco lighting system at Notre Dame Stadium before permanent lights were added when Notre Dame Stadium was expanded in 1997.