Rose Bowl deal paves way for College Football Playoff expansion to 12 teams in 2024 and 2025

Rose Bowl deal paves way for College Football Playoff expansion to 12 teams in 2024 and 2025

The Rose Bowl has signed a deal with the College Football Playoff that paves the way for the event to expand to 12 teams starting in 2024, sources confirm to CBS Sports. The CFP had given the Rose Bowl until the end of the week — at the latest — to agree to terms that the bowl had so far been unwilling to agree to.

With the Rose Bowl now in the fold, an official announcement of a 12-team playoff to be held in 2024 and 2025 is expected imminently. The new format was initially approved by the CFP Board of Directors in September.

Although the terms of the agreement signed by the Rose Bowl are not yet known, the bowl had demanded to play its game in its traditional time slot at 5 p.m. ET on January 1 despite the playoff expansion potentially affecting the schedule. of the bowl. This time slot is considered one of the most valuable in sports television. The agreement signed by the Rose Bowl probably creates a lot more flexibility in this programming process.

In an expanded playoff, the games themselves are more important than the balls that host the contests. The Rose Bowl’s refusal to accept a more uniform programming policy would have delayed the expansion until 2026 after the end of the CFP’s current contract with ESPN. It would have cost the parties involved about $450 million in additional revenue, and it might have prevented the Rose Bowl from participating in the selection process once a new contract was signed.

The Rose Bowl had offered to host the CFP quarterfinals in 2024 and 2025 — possibly without their traditional partners the Big Ten and Pac-12 — in exchange for keeping its slot under the new contract of CFP’s media rights from 2026, a source familiar with the situation told CBS Sports. This offer was refused.

Asked about the Rose Bowl’s influence in the process, one person involved in the RFP process simply replied, “They don’t have any.” A CFP bowl official said early expansion would have been impossible after this weekend’s conference championship games amid the bowl rush and playoff season.

The CFP is in the ninth year of a 12-year contract with ESPN which expires after the 2025 season. All necessary parties other than the Rose Bowl had already agreed to expand to 12 teams for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. 10 FBS conferences, Notre Dame and the six participating New Year’s Bowls agreed on issues such as playing at campus venues, game dates and revenue distribution for early expansion. However, the early expansion deal had to be unanimous.

Over the years, every BCS/CFP programming decision — thus far — has allowed the Rose Bowl to air its game at or around its preferred 5 p.m. time slot. The game has traditionally been programmed to follow the Tournament of Roses Parade. The timing was such that the sun still set in the west over the San Gabriel Mountains during the game, creating one of the most iconic settings in American sports.

With the CFP poised to expand, its managers became less tolerant of Rose Bowl demands. That 5 p.m. time slot will be too valuable in the future when – for the first time – the feeling is that games are more important than bowl venues.

“It’s the Sunday equivalent of the Super Bowl,” an industry source said of the 5 p.m. timeslot. “New Year’s Day is kind of like a Sunday, even though it’s not a Sunday. Everyone’s got a hangover from New Year’s Eve. They’re seated, it’s 5 p.m. Everyone did what it needs to do. It’s the best window there is.”

The main reasons for expanding early are to provide teams with more playoff access and to earn an additional $450 million a year from rights holder ESPN so it can air the additional CFP games in 2024 and 2025. A new media rights contract will need to be signed for 2026 and beyond.

It was unclear how much leverage the Rose Bowl believed it had in the negotiations. That broadcast window is precious, and CFP stakeholders were tired of hosting the Rose Bowl in an arrangement that dates back nearly a quarter of a century.

The Rose Bowl began to relinquish its exclusivity in 1998, the BCS’s first year. At the time, he agreed to end an ongoing Big Ten and Pac-12 champion streak that dated back to 1947. In the BCS deal, the Rose Bowl gave up its two spots once every four years. in a rotation to host the BCS Championship. Game. This first happened after the 2001 season when Miami defeated Nebraska for their last national title. Both schools at the time mentioned they were meant to feel like underdogs after 55 straight years of Big Ten vs. Pac-8/10 matchups.

When the CFP started in 2014, it was assured that the Rose Bowl would never host a national championship. Los Angeles was building the new SoFi Stadium, and the city of Pasadena couldn’t afford to outbid the city of LA SoFi to host the 2023 CFP National Championship. Meanwhile, since 2014, the Rose Bowl has hosted the semi-finals of the CFP in 2015, 2018 and 2021.

“The shine of this game is going away [if the Rose doesn’t agree]”said a Bowl executive outside the CFP system. Maybe the Rose Bowl just gotta give in, suck. It’s just whoever blinks first.”

On Wednesday night, the Rose Bowl flashed.

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