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Sporting News: playoff TV revenue could hit $5 billion

Money AP

Tomorrow, the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee will vote on a four-team playoff originally proposed by conference commissioners last week. Assuming there aren’t any curveballs — I like to mix sporting analogies from time to time — the four-team field will be composed of the “four best teams”, neutral sites will be incorporated into the bowl system and the championship game will be bid out to a neutral site.

The benefit of a four-team playoff — any college football playoff, really — is the seemingly limitless potential for TV revenue for America’s second-most popular sport.

Finally, there’s a reported number associated with said potential.

Per Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, and citing a BCS source, a four-team, three-game playoff could generate as much as $5 billion (pictured) over the life of its TV deal — said to be 10 years.¬†The exact number, Hayes reports, will be determined in part by how the games are sold. In other words, are semifinals and the championship game bundled together or sold¬†separately to bidding networks? How will prices adjust during look-ins? And so on.

The 2011 BCS contract raked in $174 million, so a four-team playoff has the potential to nearly triple that number annually.

It should be noted that a plus-one format will still be discussed by the Presidential Oversight Committee tomorrow, but if the projected revenue from a playoff is anything near what TSN is reporting, expect a plus-one conversation to end as quickly as it begins.

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9 Responses to “Sporting News: playoff TV revenue could hit $5 billion”
  1. tigersgeaux says: Jun 25, 2012 5:18 PM

    A $5 billion pie means alot for the teams in the playoff and with the SEC teams that will be there it means a share of this pie for all teams (same is true for some other sharing conferences).

    That should quell the scoffers and those who want to maintain status quo, that a playoff system will be a great draw of audience, both in person and on tv and radio. A playoff system for post-season major college football, will bring great new interest and much new revenue.

    500 million dollars a year for a possible 10 year contract…quite an increase in funds…maybe somehow some kind of oversight can be held on participating teams that they would not bring 4,000 politicians and others along and not be required to purchase tens of thousands of tickets at inflated prices (as they often are by the bowls now)…well, there are many changes which are needed in post-season FBS football.

  2. baywatchboy says: Jun 25, 2012 6:48 PM

    That’s a bunch of money and I’m happy for the schools that are able to reap that. Hopefully they’ll use some of that money to help students and fans be able to afford to go to all these games all over the country. Oh wait, there won’t be any tickets for fans because they will all go to corporate donors.

  3. secucks says: Jun 25, 2012 7:12 PM

    Waiting to see the official announcement on what the commissioners have established to determine the “4-best-team” selection criteria. Given the nature of college football, attempting to make the outcome of a single game the conclusive means to identify the best college team is ridiculous. However if the $5B payout is fairly apportioned across all conferences this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    At this point I’ll hold my opinion on what may be forthcoming but if it ends up supporting all the same inequities that existed with the BCS it will take ten years to replace it with something else.

  4. huskerzfan says: Jun 25, 2012 8:08 PM

    @ tigersgeaux:

    A $5 billion pie means alot for the teams in the playoff and with the SEC teams that will be there it means a share of this pie for all teams (same is true for some other sharing conferences).


    The teams that actually participate in the Final Four won’t be raking home the entire $500 Million pot each year to their respective conferences.

    There are some models floating around, but it looks like the monies will be divied out to all conferences in some form or fashion.

    The most popular seem to be some kind of SOS ranking system for the current year, or some kind of cumulative Top 25 ranking system per conference, and then divided out based upon each conferences percentage or share of the pie.

  5. kurtrundell says: Jun 25, 2012 9:03 PM

    Can’t wait for the 7-minute TV timeouts …

  6. Deb says: Jun 25, 2012 10:11 PM

    You mean they’re only now beginning to attach hard numbers to the profit potential of real playoffs? They’re a little slow for folks in “higher education.”

  7. raylewis96 says: Jun 25, 2012 10:39 PM

    Is the most popular sport baseball?

  8. Deb says: Jun 25, 2012 10:56 PM

    @raylewis96 …

    The most popular sport is the NFL.

  9. fcmlefty1 says: Jun 26, 2012 9:56 AM

    I don’t think the total dollar amount was ever really in question. The future of FBS football will be decided by how this pie is divided, not by how big the pie actually is.

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