Notre Dame alum believes the university is alienating football fans

NOW: Notre Dame alum believes the university is alienating football fans

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Dr. Stephen O'Neil graduated from Notre Dame in 1987, and his family have been longtime fans of the university and the football team. But after seeing the low ticket sales this weekend, O'Neil felt he had to speak out about what he feels is the root of the problem. 

“Saturday’s game was the confluence of events with the poor attendance in the stadium and also the premier of the NBC Peacock app,” said Dr. O'Neil.

He decided to pen an open letter addressed to Fr. John Jenkins as well as Jack Swarbrick, believing the university has turned its back on the longtime fans of the football team, in large part due to the high ticket prices-- averaging out at $176-- and not broadcasting the home opener on television; instead streaming it online. 

The alumni across the country who have, for decades, watched Notre Dame football on television, in many cases were shutout this past weekend,” said Dr. O'Neil.

One of the key issues being that some members of the Notre Dame fan community live in areas with poor internet connection or lack smart devices to even stream the game. 

Dr. O'Neil said “My ninety-five-year-old father, who grew up outside Boston, loved Notre Dame football before he even knew where South Bend was, and now, nearing the end of his life, he can’t even watch them on television.”

And Dr. O'Neil believes that these decisions are hurting not just the fanbase, but local businesses as well. 

“The restaurants in the area, who were anticipating a bounce back from 2020 with the financial losses associated with last football season aren’t able to see that as much with the low turnout,” he said.

Dr. O'Neil would like to add that he does not bear ill will toward the university, as they do good work in the community, but hopes that the school can strike a better balance between ticket prices that can still raise money for the university, without making the football experience unattainable for fans living in and around South Bend. 

He said “These sort of things can be corrected, and it just is a matter of sitting back and saying ‘what is the actual vision up at the University of Notre Dame?’ And so I think it is incumbent upon people who love the University to speak up when it seems like things are going off the rails.”

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