As Expected, ESPN Acquires TV Rights For College Football Playoff

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The champion of college football will be crowned on cable television through the middle of the next decade.

ESPN has acquired the rights to the new college football playoff through the 2025-26 season, the network announced Wednesday. The playoff package gives ESPN the rights to the National Championship Game and three as-yet-undetermined bowls that will host semifinal games on a rotating basis.

Previously, ESPN reached separate television deals for the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl, which will also rotate as host sites for semifinal games.

Together, the four TV deals give ESPN the rights to seven games each year — the championship game and the six bowls, two of which will serve as semifinal games.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the deal, which begins when the playoff format goes into effect in the 2015-16 season, will be worth approximately $470 per year. Combined with the other three deals, ESPN would pay $685 million per year for the new seven-game playoff, up from $155 million for the current five-game Bowl Championship Series.

By the end of the new TV deal, ESPN will have televised all major college football postseason games (the BCS through 2014 and the playoff afterward) for sixteen consecutive seasons.

(Wednesday’s news from ESPN Media Zone, with additional information from The Associated Press via SI.com, cbssports.com)

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