The college football postseason is expanding from four teams to twelve starting next season, which means more games. While ESPN has exclusive playoff rights through the 2025/2026 season, the league anticipates splitting the rights throughout multiple partners when penning its next deal.
Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly “the one to watch” as contract negotiations loom closer, according to the New York Post. ESPN and Fox are still top contenders for broadcasting rights, so seeing WBD make the list is a bit of a surprise.
Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment.
Such a move would bolster Warner Bros Discovery’s ambitions in sports. The company already has the rights to NBA, NHL, and MLB games, as well as the NCAA March Madness tournament, which will all be used to bolster its Max sports package, which launched last week. Adding college football postseason games would make its offering even more attractive.
For the 2025/2026 season, ESPN can play all eleven playoff games, or the network could share some coverage with another channel. FOX is a likely second network for games to air on, especially given its extensive existing coverage of college football games.
Warner Bros. Discovery has been diversifying and expanding its own sports catalog. The company has yet to branch off into college or pro football games, but that could be a likely area as it looks to build upon its sports business and explore other options to bring in audiences.
Warner Bros Discovery’s sports division includes TNT, TBS, and now its Bleacher Report sports add-on to Max. WBD Sports already partners with CBS for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the NBA, MLB playoffs, and NHL playoffs. It also hosts the final Final Four and Stanley Cup every other year. Adding college basketball will pair nicely with NBA coverage, keeping fans already tuning in to see one expand into the other.
But football is a new venture for Warner Bros. Discovery. They’ve yet to make their mark in this sport, and with ESPN and FOX keeping a close eye on contract negotiations, this might make the competition for the league more heated.
ESPN pays the most out of any network for sports content, shelling out $300 million for licensing rights, while Fox Sports pays $150 million, according to The New York Post. Warner Bros. Discovery has the financial backing to commit to such a deal, but whether fans will be thrilled to move from one network to another, untested venue has yet to be seen.