With the approval of a long-awaited playoff system to determine a national college football champion, the door is open for high-stakes bidding for television rights, Deadline.com reports. The playoff system was approved Tuesday by a panel of university presidents.
The current Bowl Championship Series format is being replaced by a four-team playoff starting in December 2014. The playoffs will include semifinal games each year on Dec. 31 (between the No. 1 seed and the No. 4 seed) and Jan. 1 (pitting No. 2 against No. 3), along with a title game to be played typically on the first Monday in January.
The first championship game, to follow the 2014-2015 season, is set for Jan. 12, 2015.
Deadline reports: “The start date is no coincidence: ABC/ESPN paid $155 million for rights to the current BCS games through the 2013-14 season, and the new format will be offered up for bidding to other networks beginning in the fall (though ESPN has right of first refusal on a new deal).
“That price tag has been estimated at between $400M-$500M per season, Bob Boland of New York University’s Tisch School of Sports Management told Bloomberg; the committee wants a 12-year package for the three games annually. The Sporting News says the TV rights price tag would skyrocket if the bidding involves all the major networks, as well as if rights to the two semifinals are to be bid on separate from the title game. No answers there yet.”
The venues for the semifinals will rotate among the current sites of the major BCS bowl games — the Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls. The title game will be subject to bids, along the lines of how the Super Bowl venue is determined.
The playoff system replaces the BCS format that has been in place since 1998.