If ESPN did bid $500 million per season and win media rights to the entire new college football playoff system, that would bring the network’s total commitment to the sport to $7.3 billion over 12 years beginning in 2014, according to the Sports Business Journal. ESPN already has a $215 million deal to air the Rose, Orange and the newly minted Sugar bowls and would have the rights all to itself. The report stresses there are details still being worked out during ESPN’s exclusive negotiating window, which it secured via its $495 million BCS rights deal four years ago. The total output would put the value of the college football playoffs on par with the rights deal for college basketball’s playoff, March Madness. That deal between CBS and Turner pays an average of $771 million a year for 14 years.
Under the new football playoff plan approved in June that will start after next season, the semifinals pitting the No. 1 vs. the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 vs. the No. 3 seed would take place December 31 and January 1, respectively. The winners will play in the title game the first Monday in January that is six days after the last semifinal contests. In 2014-2015, that puts the championship game on January 12, 2015. Sites of the semifinal games will rotate among the current major BCS bowls, with the title game rotating among winning bid cities, much like the Super Bowl or March Madness. The rest of the playoff structure is undecided and likely is part of the final discussions now taking place.