Wednesday December 6, 2023

Apple, Amazon Have Discussed Acquiring College Football Playoff Rights

  • Apple and Amazon have had preliminary discussions to acquire rights to the College Football Playoff, sources told FOS.
  • Both companies have yet to obtain top-shelf college sports media rights.
Apple and Amazon have had discussions about bidding for rights to the College Football Playoff.
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The next College Football Playoff media deal could include a major streamer.

Both Apple and Amazon have had preliminary discussions with the College Football Playoff about acquiring rights to the 12-team slate, sources told Front Office Sports. 

The CFP has begun looking for media partners for its next contract for the expanded playoff starting in 2026, and held its first formal meeting last week. Amazon was one of the networks in the room.

Beyond usual suspects ESPN and Fox, who comprise college football’s broadcast duopoly, NBC has also had conversations and attended the meeting in person, FOS reported earlier this week. But executive director Bill Hancock noted that there was mutual interest in a streaming element for the now-11-game slate.

Amazon and Apple have already become major players in pro sports, including the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” MLB, and MLS — though both companies have yet to obtain college sports media rights.

Amazon was rumored as an early bidder for the Pac-12’s next deal, FOS previously reported. Apple was just hours away from inking an exclusive partnership with the conference before the Pac-12 imploded on the morning of Aug. 4. The deal offered a base of between $20-30 million per school, with incentives for increased subscriptions. 

Now, the streamers could bid for at least some of the games.

It’s unlikely that they’ll receive the semifinals or championship game. But the CFP’s new first round, which will include four games played on college campuses, could provide an opportunity for experimentation with streamers. 

Earlier this year, the NFL inked a $110 million deal with NBC to stream a wild card game exclusively on Peacock in January 2024.

However, no streamer has successfully outbid a linear broadcaster for Tier 1 inventory, an expert industry source previously noted.

While original estimates suggested the CFP’s 12-team format could be worth $2 billion annually, sources are now telling FOS the number will be much lower.

But bringing in multiple rights partners, like the NFL, would likely increase the CFP’s ultimate payout.

Amazon declined to comment on this story, while Apple did not immediately respond.

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