The arithmetic is simple enough a kindergartener could do it. Budgets across college sports are hurting, the College Football Playoff is bound to expand at some point anyway, so why not drag the future into the present and make everyone some extra money while they could use it?
ESPN pays the FBS conferences a reported $470 million for the three Playoff games each year, so expanding the field could bring in an extra, what, $400 million a year? Who couldn’t use an extra $400 million, especially in a time like this and double especially when you’re bringing to market a product everyone already wants?
The conference commissioners, apparently.
“My bosses are happy with the CFP,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN, “but they’re talking and they will continue to talk.”
Of course, Hancock’s job is to speak the words the commissioners want him to say, and in that sense he will be the last person to announce the berth of an eventual (and perhaps inevitable) Playoff expansion.
But the lack of desire hits at a couple of issues Dennis Dodd touched on for CBS Sports last week. First, ESPN exists in the same economy as the rest of us, and Disney may not have the appetite to shell out an extra $400 million or so to air games that, by their nature, are one half and one quarter as compelling as the games they’ve already purchased. And second, expanding the Playoff would be a lot of work that, frankly, the commissioners, presidents and ADs may not have the bandwith to take on right now.
“There are a multitude of issues that go into the expansion of the playoff. None of them can be quickly implemented,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told CBS.