CFP, ESPN reach new media rights agreement

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 5: Michigan Wolverines Team Arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on January 5, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)

The College Football Playoff and ESPN agreed to a new media rights deal keeping the Playoff on the network through 2031, it was announced Tuesday.

The CFP reaches its new media rights agreement after a historic week. It completed an additional agreement over the weekend with nine conferences and Notre Dame establishing a revenue distributing plan keeping the Playoff through 2031.

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“We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with ESPN,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock stated in a release. “It’s a significant day for the CFP and for the future of college football. The depth of coverage that ESPN gives to the sport throughout the season is second to none. There is no better platform to showcase this iconic championship as we move into the new 12-team format because ESPN’s people love college football every bit as much as we all do.”

According to a release, ESPN will expand its coverage “adding all four of the new First Round games each year to ESPN’s existing New Year’s Six (now Quarterfinals and Semifinals) and the CFP National Championship rights in the new 12-team playoff that will launch this Fall.”

READ: Reports: CFP deal extended through 2031 by conference commissioners, Notre Dame

Beginning in 2026, ESPN will have exclusive rights to all rounds of the expanded 12-team Playoff in addition to the CFP Selection Show and weekly Top 25 Rankings Shows among others.

The CFP also allowed ESPN the right to sublicense a select number of games, according to a release.

“ESPN has worked very closely with the College Football Playoff over the past decade to build one of the most prominent events in American sports. We look forward to enhancing our valued relationship over the next two years, and then continuing it for six more as we embark on this new, expanded playoff era,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro stated in a release. “This agreement further solidifies ESPN as the home of college football, as well as the destination for the vast majority of major college championships for the next eight years.”

The path forward could go a number of directions. Talk surrounding a possible 14-team Playoff could continue and likely will, as the CFP has already discussed automatic byes in a format that would be expanded again.