It’s a problem that all Notre Dame football fans have faced; finding a place to stay in South Bend during Irish football weekends. Many are forced to book cramped hotel rooms 50 miles away from the stadium and then deal with traffic on gameday. Thinking there was a better way to experience a football weekend, several Notre Dame Alums created a website called Rent Like a Champion to allow fans to rent nice homes just blocks from the stadium for the entire weekend.
Jordan Curnes (ND Class of 2001) is one of the founders of Rent Like a Champion. ”All of our friends were having the same issues during home football weekends. We often were coming back with a group of friends or several family members, and trying to book 3 or 4 hotel rooms was a nightmare. Plus, most hotels in South Bend are sold out by the time you find out the results of the Notre Dame ticket lottery in July. We wanted to create a solution for our own problem, so we built a website,” Curnes says.
In over 7 years of operation, Rent Like a Champion has seen its popularity rapidly rise each year. Over 100 houses in the South Bend area are listed for rent for all Notre Dame Football home games as well as graduation weekend, reunion weekend, and many are available to rent for individual events like weddings. Last Fall, the company had over 3,000 Notre Dame fans staying at homes rented through their website. This year, the home bookings have started even earlier, especially for Michigan, this year’s home night game. “We already have 50 bookings for the Michigan game, and are expecting over 100 homes to be rented out that weekend.” Curnes says.
Many of the houses listed on the website are owned by Notre Dame faculty members and some have historical significance, such as a home previously owned by Notre Dame legend Knute Rockne, which is just 3 blocks from the stadium. Curnes further explains that staying in a home creates a different weekend experience for friends and family. “Renting a home allows a group to spend quality time together, before and after the game. With a home you have a large common space to hang out, a kitchen where you can share meals, and a backyard for BBQs and other gatherings. Plus, there is a lot less stress during the gameday, when you can either walk to the stadium or have just a short drive to tailgate. When you add up the nightly rates and taxes for 3 or 4 hotel rooms, it is often much cheaper to stay in a home for the weekend. This does not even include the money you save by eating a few meals at the house instead of a restaurant. We see ND families return year after year to great homes that allow them to spend quality time together.”
This season Rent Like a Champion is offering an alumni matching program, wherein ND alums can save money on a home rental while simultaneously earning money for their local club’s general scholarship fund. “It’s been a very popular program in the past, and just something that we like to do to give back to the alumni clubs around the country,” Curnes says.
Many homes are still available for all games, the pace of bookings will increase rapidly after July 6th, the day that Notre Dame Football Ticket Lottery results are announced. Visit Rent Like a Champion to browse from the list of homes available for ND football games.