Sporting News: ESPN ‘closing in’ on entire playoff package

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As was noted at the beginning of the week, revenue distribution for college football’s new four-team playoff has the potential to become increasingly convoluted if the package of the three-game event (a championship game and two semifinals) is sold separately to competing networks.

If multiple TV networks obtain the rights for the other major “contractual tie-in bowls”, which will also likely serve as semifinal sites on a rotating basis, things get even more complex.

In short, it’s easier if one network buys up as much of the new inventory as possible.

According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, that will most likely be the case, as ESPN is reportedly “closing in” on purchasing the entire playoff package. ESPN has right of first refusal for the playoff, so it makes sense the WWL would be on the verge of obtaining it. TSN also corroborates the Sports Business Journal report that the entire three-game playoff package could be worth roughly $600 million annually, with the championship game alone being worth “at least” $200 million.

In contrast, the 2011 BCS package paid out $172 million. That’s just over double of what ESPN is also reportedly set to pay for rights to the Rose Bowl every year through 2026, the length of the four-team playoff agreement.