College Football Playoff Rights & the Champions Bowl

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

November 9, 2012

ESPN made the first offer on TV rights for the new college football playoff, offering approximately $500 million annually. Since the deal will be for 10-12 years, the total value of the offer is between $5-6 billion. This isn’t a formal first bid, so the average annual value could end up being higher. Commissioners originally thought the rights were worth $350 million, so they’re certainly happy about ESPN’s valuation. Conferences are still debating the structure of the four-team playoff, with the Pac-12 and Big 12 advocating for a “7th playoff bowl.”

Meanwhile, in a tangentially related move, New Orleans beat out Arlington, Texas, to host the new bowl game between the SEC and Big 12 conferences. The bowl will now take the name of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, since Champions Bowl was only a temporary placeholder until a permanent location was settled on. One of the primary reasons the game ended up in New Orleans is because of the SEC’s long-standing relationship with the Sugar Bowl. ESPN is paying $80 million for TV rights, equal to what the network is paying for rights to the Rose Bowl.

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