ESPN and The College Football Playoff, CFP, are negotiating an agreement that would make the sports network the event’s sole rights holder for the next eight years.
The deal would tack on a new 6-year agreement onto the final two years of ESPN’s current contract with CFP, sources told ESPN. The current contract is set to expire in 2025.
ESPN is considered the leading bidder among multiple networks vying for CFP rights, including Fox Sports.
“I have to say, this is a negotiation, and so I’m not going to be able to tell you much about it,” Hancock said. “We’re happy with where we are and not quite to the finish line yet,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock told ESPN.
This means ESPN would be the exclusive home of the National Championship Playoffs through 2032, at a time when the demand for sports content has surged.
Prior to the negotiation news, ESPN and the NCAA announced that they’d struck an 8-year deal to cover 40 championships — sans March Madness — on the sports network and ABC. The deal reportedly has an average annual value of $115 million, a massive increase from the previous 14-year deal with the network.
In short, it’ll be a boon for ESPN — and the future of its standalone streaming service ESPN+ — if the network can extend its contract with CFP in addition to the NCAA deal.
ESPN declined to comment.