SBJ reports cost of Rose Bowl deal

ESPN will pay an average $80 million annually for the broadcast and digital rights to the Rose Bowl, SportsBusiness Journal reported Monday.

The deal, which runs from 2015-26, marks a 167 percent increase from the $30 million ESPN pays for the bowl game annually. According to the Journal, the massive increase will drive the market for the new semifinal and national championship games higher. An ESPN spokesman declined to comment on the deal and report.

The deal is also a sign that the five major conferences -- the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC -- will continue to dominate financially under the new playoff system, a reality predicted after the four-team proposal was approved last month.

The NCAA committee that approved the playoff system made no decisions about revenue distribution, and it’s expected those decisions won’t be made until there’s a clearer picture of which bowls will be involved in the final system and what sort of revenue will be generated from the media deals.

SportsBusiness Journal explains how revenue from “contract bowls” will be kept from the system as the conference partners retain the media rights:

The Rose, Orange and Champions are considered “contract bowls” because they have contracts with conference partners and those big five conferences are protecting their revenue from those games.

By doing separate TV deals for those three bowls, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC guarantee that a significant portion of TV revenue will flow directly into their coffers and won’t have to be shared with the other conferences.

The TV revenue that comes from the playoff TV package, however, will be shared with the other conferences -- the big five, plus the Big East, MAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA.

The commissioners still haven’t determined which bowls will serve as semifinal games.

“Even after the ‘contract’ bowls do their deals, that leaves a lot of inventory in a playoff package,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “It’s still a massive package once you consider the championship games, the semifinals and the other ‘non-contract’ bowls.”

The Champions Bowl is expected to command similar money to the Rose Bowl, while the Orange Bowl is projected to receive less. The ACC has no partner in the Orange Bowl, so it could retain all media rights revenue minus any payout it would make to attract an opponent each year.