ESPN has cemented its position as the leading college football broadcaster by signing multi-billion dollar deal for the new college football playoff series.
The current system, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which is currently broadcast on ESPN, will be replaced in the 2014 season with a new playoff system.
ESPN has sealed the rights to the new playoffs, plus 'selected other games', from 2014 to the 2025 season, which includes bowl games in 2026.
The 12-year deal is worth around US$470 million per season, according to the Wall Street Journal, or US$5.64 billion in total.
ESPN already has long-term rights to the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Orange Bowl but is now likely to broadcast all post-season college football.
- ESPN acquires Orange Bowl rights
- ESPN picks up rights to the Sugar Bowl
- ESPN to broadcast Rose Bowl until 2026
The new system will consist of a four-team playoff, played over six bowl games, with a championship game to be played at a host stadium which will be bid for along the same lines as the NFL Super Bowl game.
The deal, which includes television, radio, mobile and online rights, has been agrees in principle and is still subject to document finalisation and approval.
ESPN will also be entitled to branded content throughout the college football season including official team selection announcements.
"Because of college football's widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games," said ESPN president John Skipper. "We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN's outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport."
"Folks are going to love this playoff and the attention ESPN will give to it," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said.
Picture shows ESPN president John Skipper