HOUSTON -- The College Football Playoff and ESPN are in the midst of negotiations to maintain the network as the sole rights holder of the event for the next eight years, sources told ESPN on Monday.
The deal would include the final two years on the current CFP contract plus a new six-year agreement for the next iteration of the playoff, sources told ESPN.
If ESPN remains the sole rights holder, it would be a significant change from what the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick had originally wanted, as all had been in agreement that multiple broadcast partners -- a model similar to what the NFL has -- would be best for college football.
While nothing has been finalized and negotiations are ongoing, sources indicated that ESPN is considering paying approximately $1.3 billion for the rights to the new six-year deal starting in the 2026 season.
ESPN declined to comment.
ESPN is the sole rights holder in the current, 12-year contract, which expires following the 2025 season. The CFP will expand from four to 12 teams this fall.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the organization is no longer in the exclusive negotiating window with ESPN.
"I have to say, this is a negotiation, and so I'm not going to be able to tell you much about it," Hancock said. "We're happy with where we are and not quite to the finish line yet."
A sublicense agreement was a sticking point that has been settled, according to sources. The agreement would give ESPN the ability to sell the rights to some of the games -- something Fox Sports would be interested in, sources indicated.
Hancock said that if ESPN were to sublicense any games, the presidents would have to approve it.
The 10 FBS commissioners and Swarbrick convened with the 11 presidents and chancellors who control the CFP for their annual meeting Monday morning before No. 1 Michigan faced No. 2 Washington in the CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T. While nothing concrete has been settled about the future TV rights in the new contract, sources told ESPN that it's something that all parties are eager to finalize.
"Don't have a timeline," Hancock said. "We're getting close."