ESPN has reached a 12-year agreement with the NCAA's Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences for the Sugar Bowl (previously referred to as the Champions Bowl), giving the sports giant media rights to two of the bowl games expected to be a part of the forthcoming college football playoff system.
According to reports, ESPN is closing in on securing rights to the entire college football playoff system, which will begin with the 2014-15 season. The worldwide leader's deals with both bowl games begin January 2015.
Rights include television, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and on smartphones, tablets, online and on Xbox LIVE, via WatchESPN. Additionally, ESPN will distribute the Sugar Bowl on ESPN 3D and around the world via ESPN International.
Like the Rose Bowl, ESPN will have the rights to the Sugar Bowl each year no matter what is determined to be the exact postseason bowl rotation as part of the format that is still being formulated. As of now, the playoff system is expected o feature six bowl games. The Sugar Bowl is expected to be one of the bowls that will rotate as a host for a national semifinal game.
The game will take place annually on Jan. 1 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdown in New Orleans, and will feature the winners of the SEC and Big 12 Conferences. The SEC has taken part in the traditionalSugar Bowl since its inception. If the SEC or Big 12 champion advances to the national semifinals, each conference would then provide another team for the Sugar Bowl.
"Given the history of excellence by teams in the SEC and Big 12, we recognized the value in securing long-term rights to the Sugar Bowl," said John Skipper, ESPN president and cochair, Disney Media Networks, in announcing the pact. "The matchup will provide college football fans with a memorable way to start the New Year on ESPN's many platforms."