ESPN is reportedly offering $500 million per year for the television rights to broadcast the new college football playoff system according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.
The four-team playoff system is set to kickoff in 2015 and would replace the existing Bowl Championship Series, which is set to expire at the end of the 2014 season.
According to the CBSSports.com report, multiple sources have confirmed the amount of the bid which would just be the start of the whole process. ESPN has an exclusive 30-day negotiating window for the playoffs before it would open up for the rest of the market.
The new playoff system is set to run until 2026 which means that according to CBSSports.com, the total payout could be as high as $5 to $6 billion over the length of the contract. Earlier this season, conference commissioners believed the value would be more like $350 million per year.
According to Forbes, ESPN pays $125 million a year for the rights to broadcast the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls as well as the national championship game. ABC, which is owned by ESPN, has a separate deal for the Rose Bowl, which is valued at $30 million per year. That makes the total payout at $155 million.
ESPN has already negotiated several individual deals with the Rose Bowl and the new Champions Bowl under the new playoff format. Those deals are reportedly worth $80 million per year. The Orange Bowl, which would host the champion of the ACC, is currently still working on a rights deal with the network.
Under the new postseason format, there would be two national semifinal games rotated between six top tier bowl games. Three of those games are contract bowls, meaning they have agreements with several conferences. The Rose Bowl will feature the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 while the new Champions Bowl would feature the champions of the SEC and Big 12. If any of those teams are involved in the four-team playoff, the next best team from that conference would step up.
The Orange Bowl has an agreement to host the champions of the ACC and an opponent at-large. Reportedly that could include a team from the SEC or Big Ten or possibly Notre Dame, if they qualify.
The remaining three bowl games would be bid on by the respective host cities which could include such sites as Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa and Orlando. The national championship game would be rotated as well and would be bid on yearly. Similar to the way the NFL bids out the Super Bowl each year.
While the CBSSports.com report states that negotiations are still ongoing, it just begins to show the insane amount of money that the new college football postseason will generate for the television industry, college conferences as well as the individual schools.
Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.