Now that the Rose Bowl and Champions Bowl are locked in — reportedly — to TV broadcasting rights worth roughly $80 million annually through 2026, it’s only natural that other conferences would start wondering just how they can get in on the new postseason cash cow.
Among the conferences formulating new bowl possibilities is the Big East, currently in the middle of its annual media days. Joe Schad of ESPN reports that the league “has discussed starting a new bowl game for its champion, likely in Florida, starting with the 2014 season.”
The format would be similar to the Champions Bowl, where the conference determines TV partnership — most likely with the broadcast company that purchases the league’s media rights — and host site, and revenue flows directly back into the league. That’s where the discernible difference between a Big East champions bowl and a Big 12/SEC bowl would begin: the payout. That would more than likely depend on the opponent tie-in.
For example, the ACC is contractually tied to the Orange Bowl through 2026 and has already spoken to Notre Dame about a partnership. But, that game is still only half-slotted for now and there’s been no indication yet (and I don’t expect there will be) that the Big East will be the permanent opponent for the Orange Bowl.
Unofficially, the Big East has to move forward without a contractual tie-in to a major bowl — the new “automatic qualifier” status. Forming a league champion bowl and dictating the terms of the agreement would be the smart alternative.