And speaking of ESPN, the big news about the ginormous new contract it’s signed for the Rose Bowl broadcast rights through 2026 isn’t what that portends for how much the playoff broadcast rights are worth or the value of the Champions Bowl’s TV rights (although Slive is probably pinching himself over his good fortune there). No, it’s that the WWL is sending a clear message to its rivals that it won’t be a pushover as all these new postseason deals come up for negotiation.
Consider what it’s committed itself to with the Rose Bowl: “The Rose Bowl’s new $80 million annual rights fee represents a 167 percent jump from the $30 million the network currently pays.” [Emphasis added.] That’s for a game that in many years is going to have a reduced importance as the new four-team playoff takes hold.
Expect more preemptive bids. And expect that ESPN’s influence over the college game won’t miss a beat.