The expanded College Football Playoff is staying with ESPN.
According to The Athletic, ESPN is in agreement with the CFP to extend the network’s deal to televise the playoff for another six seasons. ESPN’s original contract went through the 2025-26 season. The extension is worth a reported $7.8 billion.
The 2024-25 playoff will be the first with 12 teams. The first 10 iterations of the playoff featured four teams and three postseason games a year.
ESPN will be paying more money for the 12-team playoff because the expanded format will feature 11 games. The first four games of the playoff will be held at the home stadiums of seeds Nos. 5-8 before the final seven games of the playoff will be held at neutral site bowl venues.
The extension with ESPN isn’t much of a surprise. The network was seen as the only serious player for the TV rights and has held the rights to televise the playoff ever since the format succeeded the BCS. ESPN will have the ability to sublicense games to other networks, however. That would potentially open up the opportunity for another network to purchase the ability to televise the game from ESPN.
With the final seven games of the playoff remaining at neutral sites, the New Year’s Six bowl format will be modified. The six bowl games — The Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose and Sugar Bowls — will rotate as quarterfinal and semifinal sites while the national title game will remain its own standalone event at a rotating site.
The 2025 national title game is set for Jan. 20 in Atlanta. The game will be played approximately 10 days later than it has been in the four-team format with the additional two rounds of games coming at the end of the regular season. The first round of playoff games is set for the weekend of Dec. 21.