Rose Bowl agreement paves way for expansion of 12-team College Football Playoff in 2024 and 2025

The Rose Bowl has signed an agreement with College Football Playoff that paves the way for the event’s expansion 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 the Bowl had so far been unwilling to accept.

With the Rose Bowl now in the fold, an official announcement of 12-team playoffs in 2024 and 2025 is expected soon. 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 has been claiming to play its game in the traditional 5 PM EST time slot on January 1 despite the expansion of the game potentially affecting the bowl schedule. . This timeslot is considered one of the most valuable spots in sports television. The agreement signed by the Rose Bowl will likely create significantly more flexibility in this scheduling process.

In the extended playoffs, the games themselves are more important than the bowls hosting the competitions. The Rose Bowl refused to acquiesce in a more uniform scheduling policy that would have delayed expansion until 2026 after CFP’s current contract with ESPN expires. That would have cost the parties involved an estimated $450 million in additional revenue, and may have kept the Rose Bowl out of the selection process once a new contract was signed.

The Rose Bowl proposed hosting the CFP Quarterfinals in 2024 and 2025 — possibly without the traditional Big Ten and Pac-12 partners — in exchange for holding the time as part of the CFP’s new media rights contract starting in 2026, a source closed to the situation he told CNN. PS Sports. This offer was rejected.

When asked what leverage the Rose Bowl had in the process, a person involved in the CFP process simply replied, “They don’t have any influence.” An early expansion would have been impossible after this weekend’s conference championship games amidst the rush of bowling and the playoff season, said a CFP official.

CFP is in the ninth year of a 12-year deal with ESPN that expires after the 2025 season. All necessary parties other than the Rose Bowl have already agreed to expand to 12 teams for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. The ten FBS conferences, Notre Dame and Six Bowls participating in the new year have agreed on issues Such as playing at campus locations, game dates and revenue distribution for early expansion. However, the agreement to expand early needs to be unanimous.

Over the years, every BCS/CFP scheduling decision—to date—has accommodated the Rose Bowl’s ability to air its game in the preferred 5 p.m. time slot on or around New Year’s Day. The game has traditionally been scheduled to follow the Roses of Parade tournament. The timing was such that the sun always set in the west over the San Gabriel Mountains during a game, creating one of the most iconic settings in American sports.

As CFP prepares to expand, its handlers are becoming less forgiving of Rose Bowl requirements. This 5pm timeslot will be invaluable in the future – for the first time – when the feeling is that games are more important than bowl spots.

“It’s the equivalent of Super Bowl Sunday,” an industry source said at 5 p.m. “New Year’s Day is kind of like Sunday, even if it’s not Sunday. Everyone’s hanging out from New Year’s Eve. They’re sitting apart, it’s five o’clock. Everyone’s done with what they need to do. It’s the best window there is.”

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

It was not clear what leverage Rose Bowl thought he would have in the negotiations. That broadcast window is valuable, and CFP stakeholders are tired of absorbing the Rose Bowl into an arrangement dating back nearly a quarter of a century.

The Rose Bowl began giving up its exclusivity in 1998, the first year of the BCS. In that time, it agreed to end an unbroken streak of fielding Big Ten and Pac-12 champions dating back to 1947. In the BCS agreement, the Rose Bowl rotated to two sites once every four years in rotation to host a BCS championship game. It happened for the first time after the 2001 season when Miami defeated Nebraska for its last national title. Both schools mentioned at the time how they were supposed to feel like outsiders after 55 consecutive years of Big Ten vs. Pac-8/10 games.

When the CFP began in 2014, it was confirmed that the Rose Bowl would never host a national championship. Los Angeles was building a new SoFi stadium, and the city of Pasadena didn’t have the means to bid on which LA SoFi city would host the 2023 CFP National Championship. Meanwhile, since 2014, the Rose Bowl has hosted the CFP semifinals in 2015, 2018, and 2021.

The luster of that game is fading [if the Rose doesn’t agree],” said one bowl executive outside the CFP system. Maybe the Rose Bowl should just give in, suck it up. It’s just who blinks first.”

On Wednesday, the Rose Bowl flashes.


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