ESPN and the College Football Playoff have agreed to a six-year deal worth $1.3 billion annually that allows the network to keep exclusive rights to the 12-team playoff through the 2031 season, two people with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because a deal cannot be finalized until the CFP works through other outstanding issues regarding the format and revenue distribution.
ESPN was first to report the offer of $1.3 billion annually from the network to the CFP, and The Athletic first reported that an agreement had been reached on those terms.
The network declined to comment.
“Negotiations are continuing,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock told the AP.
The playoff expands from four teams to 12 this season but within a preexisting 12-year contract with ESPN that runs through the 2025-26 season. That deal pays the CFP $608 million for seven games annually: two playoff semifinals, a championship game and four other major bowl games.
The total value of the last two years of the original deal is expected to rise to match the increase in the number of games in the package from seven to 11.
The conference commissioners who manage the playoff talked often about having multiple television partners as they tried to come to a consensus on expansion. Fox, NBC, Warner Bros. Discovery and streaming platforms all expressed interest to CFP officials, but instead they are heading toward sticking with ESPN — though the network could sublicense some of the playoff games to other networks.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football