State legislators reached an agreement with the University of Connecticut football program Wednesday that allows the Huskies to play a six game series against Notre Dame, even though none of those games will be played at home in Connecticut.
The games will be played at larger football stadiums in New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts, instead of the publicly financed 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
State Rep. Michael Christ, D-East Hartford, had planned to introduce an amendment that would force UConn to play all of its home games at Rentschler Field, which cost the state taxpayers more than $90 million to build. But Christ and other legislators brokered a deal with UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway, which allows the team to play three games in South Bend and three games at stadiums in the tri-state area.
As part of the agreement UConn has agreed to continue to play six home games at Rentschler Field, essentially adding Notre Dame as a seventh game.
Hathaway said Wednesday during a press conference at the state Capitol that he would not have asked the state to make concessions for any other football program. He said Notre Dame has a “storied” football program and playing them will give the Huskies national exposure that will help their recruiting efforts and increase the university’s visibility. “There’s only one school we would make this type of arrangement for,” he said.
“This is about branding,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway said they will also be getting about $125,000 in additional television revenue from the nationally televised games.
As far as ticket prices go, students will be able to pay the same price they pay at Rentschler for tickets when UConn plays Notre Dame at out-of-state venues. Season ticket holders will be given an option to purchase packages with or without the Notre Dame game and may receive a discount on the Notre Dame game, but it was unclear exactly what kind of discount may be offered.
Hathaway said they’re still in negotiations with Notre Dame and haven’t even approached the venues yet.
The six game series between the two teams would be held between 2011-2017. UConn negotiated a separate contract to play Notre Dame in South Bend in 2009.