CBSSports.com is reporting that ESPN will offer almost half a billion annually to broadcast the college football playoffs. CBS is saying that this is not a formal bid and it's the high end of the range, but it's a ballpark figure for how lucrative the deal can be. By comparison, the current BCS deal is for $125 million per year.
This report doesn't specify whether this figure is for all six of the bowls in the semifinal rotation or just the semifinals and championship game (i.e. solely the playoff). Figures have already been thrown around for the contract bowls, with the Rose and Sugar (Champions) Bowls being worth $80 million a year and the Orange Bowl being around $55 million per year.
My guess is that the $500 million would cover all six bowls, but it would be an amazing payday if it only covers the playoff itself.