ESPN, Rose Bowl reach TV extension through 2026

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One of college football’s most valuable bowls just signed an extension with the World Wide Leader.

And, lo and behold, it aligns perfectly with the 12-year playoff approval from the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

In a release, ESPN announced an extension with the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-12 to broadcast the game through 2026. Why is that important? The release states “Whatever is determined to be the exact post-season bowl rotation as part of the future format, ESPN will have the rights to the Rose Bowl Game each year.”

The terms of the extension were not released, but recall from the other day the Sporting News report claiming a college football playoff could generate upwards of $500 million annually. That projection will depend in part by how the semifinals and championship game are packaged to networks. TSN also reported ESPN will have first refusal rights, but NBC, Fox and CBS could potentially bid on some or all of the available product.

The Rose Bowl currently negotiates its own TV contract separate from the other major BCS bowls, so no matter what happens with TV negotiations, ABC/ESPN will keep the Rose Bowl for the next 12 years. As part of the playoff approval, two semifinal games will rotate among six bowls, though which six have yet to be determined. Still, anticipate that the Rose Bowl will be one of them.

In such a case, the numbers would indicate the Rose Bowl would host a semifinal game four times over the 12-year life of the playoff deal. However, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports writes “there is speculation that the Rose could host as few as two national semis during that period, thus preserving its preferred traditional matchup more often.”

In a statement yesterday, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said he was pleased with the approval of a four-team playoff because it preserved both the regular season and the conference’s relationship with the Rose Bowl, two important factors to the league’s president’s and chancellors.

Coincidence? I think not.