Saturday September 30, 2023

2024 College Football Playoff Will Conflict With Some NFL Games

  • First-round CFP games in December 2024 will see conflicts with NFL games.
  • The College Football Playoffs will expand from four to 12 teams starting in 2024.
2024 CFP
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Conference commissioners have agreed on new dates for the expanded College Football Playoff in 2024, and some game times are set to conflict with NFL regular season games.

Three first-round games of the 2024 CFP will be held on Dec. 21, which is when the NFL typically begins playing Saturday games. The fourth CFP opening-round game will be played Friday, Dec. 20 as part of the Playoff’s expansion to 12 teams in 2024.

The 2024 and 2025 CFP quarterfinals will take place on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with no NFL conflicts. The semifinals would be played January 9-10 in 2024 and Jan. 8-9 in 2025 to avoid potential conflicts with the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. 

“We want to preserve as much prep time between the rounds as we possibly can,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said, according to ESPN. “I wouldn’t want to share any details about our conversations with the NFL, but we have a good relationship with them.”

The national championship games will be played on Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta, and on Jan. 19, 2026, in Miami.

Media rights for the expanded College Football Playoff could fetch as much as $2.2 billion per year, more than double the current $470 million annual fee that ESPN pays for exclusive rights through 2026. With the NFL expanding its season in recent years and being by far the most-watched sport in the U.S., college football executives have had to navigate scheduling conflicts that could hurt viewership numbers on both sides.

“I fully respect the NFL and its model,” SEC commissioner Greg Stankey said, per Sports Illustrated. “If we intersect, so be it. It’s not meant to be anything at all disrespectful or frustrating. They’ve expanded their season. The question about how to design our season … part of that has to be thinking about where we fit around the NFL.”

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