Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) runs after a catch against Georgia during the second quarter of the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY

As the Pac-12 faces an uncertain future, the College Football Playoff finds itself in a holding pattern regarding its upcoming 12-team format.

That, however, hasn’t stopped the CFP from pursuing its next media rights deal as its contract with ESPN is set to expire following the 2025 season.

With the expansion from four teams to 12 teams meaning there will now be 11 games instead of three, the CFP will have plenty of inventory to sell. And with the CFP likely to have multiple broadcast partners as a part of its next media rights deal, the playoff is also weighing its options when it comes to streaming services.

“Streaming adds another element,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock, per ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “We are not averse to streaming some of the games. I wouldn’t expect us to stream all of them, but right now nothing’s off the table.”

While it may have seemed far fetched even just a year ago, the idea of a playoff game airing exclusively on a streaming service now hardly seems far fetched. NBC’s Peacock has already dipped its toes in college football waters — although an upcoming high profile matchup between Ohio State and Maryland was recently moved from the streaming service to Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff.

Still, with Amazon, Apple and Peacock having each shown an appetite for live sports, it appears to be a matter of not if, but when a high profile playoff game in any sport will air exclusively on a streaming service. College football isn’t always the most forward thinking sport, but as the expansion to 12 teams shows, the money still matters.

According to Hancock, five television companies sent executives to meet with the CFP management committee during a two-day meeting at Big Ten headquarters this week and “four or five others have expressed interest. Considering the timeline, an announcement on a new deal might not far away and don’t be surprised if it includes a streaming element.


About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.