The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange Bowl finalized a new 12-year deal that will feature the ACC Champion against an opponent from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame beginning in the 2014-15 season.
ESPN also secured the rights to broadcast the game in a primetime timeslot on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day depending on the new college football playoff system.
“We are pleased to have finalized our long-term partnership which brings tremendous exposure and value to the ACC and our member institutions,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige and featuring our teams against opponents from the Big Ten, SEC and potentially Notre Dame provides attractive matchups year in and year out. The opportunity to partner with ESPN to showcase the game on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day provides us with a terrific way for fans to ring in the New Year in South Florida.”
Under the new agreement, the ACC Champion will play in the Orange Bowl if it is not selected as part of the four-team playoff. If that happens, a replacement team from the ACC will take its place.
The opponent for the ACC would be based on the highest-ranked team in the final standings from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame . The Orange Bowl committee can select an SEC or Big Ten team that is not involved in the semifinals or the Sugar or Rose bowls. They could also select a Notre Dame team depending on minimum appearance criteria based upon by the leagues.
That criteria says that over the next 12 years, there are at least three guaranteed appearances for both the Big Ten and SEC with a maximum of two appearances for Notre Dame.
The new playoff system will feature two national semifinal games that will be rotated through six upper-tier bowl games. Three of those games are considered ‘contract’ bowls, which feature guaranteed spots for several of the conferences.
The deal with the Orange Bowl means that ESPN has now secured rights to all three ‘contract’ bowls including the Rose and Sugar bowls. ESPN is reportedly paying $80 million annually for the rights for each of those bowl games and according to an ESPN report, the network’s deal with the Orange Bowl will be worth $55 million per year.
While that money would be evenly split between the ACC and Big Ten/SEC opponents - $27.5 million – Notre Dame would receive significantly less according to the ESPN report.
“Our continued media partnership with ESPN is of great importance to the Discover Orange Bowl property,” said Eric Poms, Orange Bowl Committee chief executive officer. “The worldwide leader in sports brings the optimal platform to annually showcase one of college football’s great traditions.”
The remaining three other bowls – or access bowls – have yet to be determined. Those games will feature opponents based on criteria met by the new selection committee. The sites have yet to be determined, but speculation has been that it could include Dallas, Glendale, Ariz., Atlanta and Orlando.
ESPN is reportedly in negotiations to purchase the rights to the playoff format. The deal has reportedly been worth up to $500 million per year or $7.3 billion over the 12-year window of the new postseason deal.
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