College Football Playoff helmet Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff will reportedly not be going anywhere.

Per The Athletic, ESPN is retaining the rights to the College Football Playoff through the 2031 season, paying an average of $1.3 billion per year for the six new years tacked on to the end of the current deal.

ESPN first reported negotiations about the deal in January, name-checking the same term and value reported by The Athletic on Tuesday.

ESPN’s existing deal with the Playoff runs through 2025, paying over $600 million annually. With the Playoff expanding to 12 teams in 2024, ESPN did not have the rights to the first-round games in its existing deal. The extension reportedly gives ESPN the rights to those first-round games in the next two seasons, though the cost to ESPN is unknown.

As reported in January, ESPN can sublicense games in the Playoff to other networks. In addition to ESPN, several networks were linked to the playoffs’ rights, including Fox Sports (which was linked to a “massive bid“), NBC, Warner Bros. Discovery, and unnamed streaming companies.

In April, the Playoff announced the dates of the first-round games in 2024. One will occur on Friday, December 20, and the other three on Saturday, December 21. Three of the four quarterfinal games will likely take place on Wednesday, January 1, with the fourth being held on either Tuesday, December 31, or Thursday, January 2.

The agreement isn’t official quite yet. The Athletic reports that it “will not be ratified until the commissioners and presidents vote on the structure and financials” related to the expanded Playoff. Other details, including streaming and network assignments, have yet to be announced.

[The Athletic]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.