As expected, ESPN has reached a 12-year agreement to become the exclusive rights-holder for the upcoming college football playoff system, which begins with the 2014-15 season.
With its recent deals for the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls, ESPN will hold the media rights for all games that will be involved with the new playoff format. The agreement begins in January 2015 and runs through the 2026 bowls.
Per the agreement, ESPN receives rights to the championship, semifinals and additional bowl games. The two semifinal games will rotate each year among six bowl games, consisting of three "contract bowls" -- Rose, Sugar and Orange -- and three "host bowls," which will be determined by commissioners. The additional bowl games would consist of the remaining "host bowl" games that were not selected to host semifinals.
ESPN also gains rights to any related programming, including the official team-selection announcement.
"Because of college football's widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games," said John Skipper, president, ESPN and cochair, Disney Media Networks, in announcing the deal. "We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN's outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport."
ESPN would feature the games on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and on computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox LIVE via WatchESPN. Additionally, ESPN would have the rights to distribute the matchups on ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes and around the world via ESPN International.
The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions.