Wednesday December 6, 2023

NBC Is Interested in Expanded College Football Playoff Media Rights

  • Last week, the CFP heard presentations from five media companies — one of which was NBC, a source confirmed to FOS.
  • NBC now appears to be going after more top college football rights than ever before.
NBC is interested in media rights to the expanded College Football Playoff.
Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

NBC is one of the networks exploring a slice of the 12-team College Football Playoff, Front Office Sports has learned.

The CFP has begun having preliminary discussions for the media rights to the expanded playoff, which are up for grabs in 2026. Unlike the current four-team CFP, owned exclusively by ESPN, the next package will likely include multiple networks.

Last week, the CFP heard presentations from five media companies — one of which was NBC, a source confirmed to FOS.

NBC declined to comment on this story. But in an interview last week about the network’s new deal with the Big Ten, NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships Jon Miller told FOS the broadcaster has had “conversations” with the CFP. 

“I think the College Football Playoffs are a very unique, exciting package,” he said. “The expansion obviously brings a lot more attention and focus to the sport in December and January.”

Miller said there have been no “serious” conversations yet — unsurprising given the CFP is just starting up its negotiations. But “when the [inventory] comes up, certainly we’ll engage and have conversations and see what happens.”

Until this year, NBC’s only big-time college football presence was with Notre Dame. But the network now appears to be going after more top college football rights than ever before.

Last year, NBC signed its first major conference media deal in its 100-year history with the Big Ten. The deal’s crown jewel, “Big Ten Saturday Night,” is a new weekly primetime slot for Big Ten football modeled after the wildly successful “Sunday Night Football.”

“Big Ten Saturday Night” has already seen success: The Week 4 Ohio State-Notre Dame matchup garnered 10.6 million viewers — the most of any college football game that week, and NBC’s second-most-watched college football game in history.

In all, there appear to be nine or 10 media companies considering bids for the CFP. In addition to the five that presented last week, four or five others have made contact, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told reporters last week.

The two networks who make up college football’s broadcast duopoly, ESPN and Fox, are the two most intuitive candidates for control of the CFP. Hancock noted last week a streaming partner could be part of the package, as there’s mutual interest in including a streaming element.

The package for the current four-team playoff pays out an average of $470 million per year. For the inaugural 12-team playoffs in 2024 and 2025, ESPN will broadcast the semifinals, quarterfinals, and championship game — as it also has the rights to the New Year’s Six bowls. 

The CFP is hearing pitches for rights to the 2024 and 2025 first rounds, which will consist of four games played on campuses.

It’s unclear how much the future package will be worth, however. Last September, experts predicted the 12-team playoff could command up to $2.2 billion annually. However, that number could be overinflated in the current media landscape, a source recently told FOS.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read


NHL's Projected Record Salary Cap Reflects Revenue Surge (and Resilience)

Increased media revenue, rising attendance fuel post-pandemic recovery.
ESPN Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith to ESPN: ‘I Want To Be Highest-Paid Talent’

With a No. 1 show, Stephen A. Smith wants to become number one in compensation.
NCAA President Charlie Baker has proposed new rules that would allow athletes to receive more compensation.

New NCAA Proposal Takes Step Toward Compensating Athletes

It does not allow athletes to become employees, however.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NCAA Opens Door to Athlete Compensation


Featured Today

The College Football Playoff is considering rotating TV networks for the national championship game.

CFP Considers Super Bowl-Like Rotation For National Championship Game

Multiple networks could share rights to the championship game, sources told FOS.
Brett Favre
November 27, 2023

Favre Welfare Case Hold-Up? "AG’s Office Has Not Expressed Interest In Pursuing"

The DOJ interviewed Brett Favre in early 2020.
The future of the Pac-12 rests on a court decision.
November 24, 2023

The Pac-12 Plays Its Final Regular-Season Game. Then A Court Decides Its Fate.

The conference's future rests with a court decision.
Lane Kiffin
November 9, 2023

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Saco Bay PT
Multiple - USA Careers

Seminoles’ CFP Snub Opens New Front in Disney vs. Florida War

Florida lawmakers are already considering legislation to protest the College Football Playoff's exclusion of Florida State.
English Premier League teams Leeds United and Brighton Hove & Albion in action during a match.
December 4, 2023

Premier League Reasserts Dominance With $8.5B Domestic Rights Deals

Deals achieve small rights fee increase for top European league.
The Australia men's cricket team celebrating winning the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
December 4, 2023

Amazon Secures ICC Cricket Broadcast Media Rights in Australia

Prime Video will be Australia's exclusive home for ICC events through 2027.

NHL’s Chris Foster on Amplifying Content Distribution With Automation

Learn how the NHL is using WSC Sports to increase fan engagement.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws a pass during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium.
December 4, 2023

Amazon Bounces Back With Record Viewership

The Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Seattle Seahawks averaged 15.26 million viewers.
Peyton Manning on the ManningCast
December 4, 2023

ESPN’s ManningCast Goes Double: Two MNF Games, Two Brothers, One Epic Show

Peyton and Eli Manning will call two “Monday Night Football” games at the same time on Dec. 11 as ManningCast expands across ESPN.
December 1, 2023

Formula 1's Growth Hits A Speed Bump With U.S. Viewers

Races on ESPN were down 8% from 2022.
December 1, 2023

Would Disney's ESPN Walk Away From The NBA?

Will financial pressures impact the company's decision with a longtime partner?