Earlier this morning, CBSSports.com reported that ESPN was prepared to pay almost $500 million for the college football playoffs. What wasn't clear in the report was whether that amount was just for the playoffs (semifinals and title game) or the whole enchilada with the contract bowls included.
The Sports Business Journal is reporting that the figure did not include the extra rights fees for the contract bowls, which are going to be $80 million per year each for the Rose and Sugar and $55 million for the Orange. Therefore:
ESPN would own college football’s postseason for a total of $7.3 billion over 12 years, beginning with the 2014 season. That figure, which averages to around $608 million per year, takes into account the $215 million annual payout ESPN has committed to the "contract" bowls — the Rose presented by Vizio, Champions and Discover Orange — in addition to the playoff package.
The BCS TV committee will still have to approve the deal, but I can't imagine them turning this down. These rights fees are well above the estimates from last spring and are in total almost five times what the rights fees are for the current BCS games.
With this kind of money on the table, it's kind of surprising that we didn't get a playoff earlier.