ESPN Reaches New Rose Bowl Agreement


Jan 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Roses stamped with Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers logos prior to the game in the 2012 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

The Sports Business Journal reported on Monday that ESPN plans to pay $80 million annually for broadcast and digital rights to the Rose Bowl.

The deal marks a 167-percent increase from the $30 million ESPN currently pays for the bowl game annually. According to the Journal, the massive increase will now drive the market for the new semifinal games and national championship system higher. The deal will run from 2015-26, parallel with the new playoff model.

ESPN will also get first dibs on the championship game and semifinals this fall during a 30-day negotiating window, as they currently partner with the BCS. If a deal can’t be struck, the package would then go to the open market where Fox Sports and other major networks can take a stab at it.

ESPN currently pays $125 million annually for media rights to the BCS championship, in addition to the $30 million it pays for the Rose Bowl.

The NCAA committee that approved the playoff system has yet to make a decision about revenue distribution, and they likely will not until there’s a better idea of which bowls will be involved in the new postseason system, and what sort of revenue will be generated from the media deals.

The deal is also a sign that the five major automatic qualifying conferences–the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC–will continue to see much financial success under the new playoff system.

The SBJ also notes that The Rose Bowl’s partners, the Pac-12 and Big 10, will keep the revenue generated from media coverage except when the bowl is used for a semifinal in the playoffs. Then, the revenue would go through the playoff system and would be given to all FBS conferences. It has yet to be determined just how the revenue will be distributed.

Also from The SBJ:

"The Rose, Orange and Champions are considered “contract bowls” because they have contracts with conference partners and those big five conferences are protecting their revenue from those games. By doing separate TV deals for those three bowls, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC guarantee that a significant portion of TV revenue will flow directly into their coffers and won’t have to be shared with the other conferences. The TV revenue that comes from the playoff TV package, however, will be shared with the other conferences — the big five, plus the Big East, MAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA. The commissioners still haven’t determined which bowls will serve as semifinal games."