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

For the longest time, NBC’s only real flag planted in the major college football world has been as the home of Notre Dame football. Since NBC only has rights to Notre Dame home games, that has meant just a small handful of games each fall. Of course, that changed this year with the landmark Big Ten television contracts, giving NBC a primetime window each Saturday night. Given NBC is expanding their portfolio in the sport, it’s no surprise that they might be interested in an expanded College Football Playoff.

While ESPN is certainly the favorite to retain most if not all of the new playoff system when it goes live next season, the extra playoff games would be valuable inventory for any network.

ESPN’s main competitor is certainly Fox Sports, who has the second largest footprint in college football with coverage on broadcast and cable throughout Saturday. But NBC is also reportedly interested.

Via Front Office Sports:

NBC is one of the networks exploring a slice of the 12-team College Football Playoff, Front Office Sports has learned.

The CFP has begun having preliminary discussions for the media rights to the expanded playoff, which are up for grabs in 2026. Unlike the current four-team CFP, owned exclusively by ESPN, the next package will likely include multiple networks.

Last week, the CFP heard presentations from five media companies — one of which was NBC, a source confirmed to FOS.

NBC declined to comment on this story. But in an interview last week about the network’s new deal with the Big Ten, NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships Jon Miller told FOS the broadcaster has had “conversations” with the CFP. 

“I think the College Football Playoffs are a very unique, exciting package,” he said. “The expansion obviously brings a lot more attention and focus to the sport in December and January.”

One of the intriguing questions here is who the fifth media company could be. ESPN, Fox, NBC, and CBS are the obvious major big four networks. But a fifth media company implies that a streamer could be interested (unless it’s something like The CW). Amazon? Apple? It remains to be seen.

Speaking of streaming, if NBC were to get involved, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the company get rights to a College Football Playoff game to further boost Peacock. The Big Ten deal has games that are exclusively streaming on Peacock and Ohio State will finally make their streaming debut next week against Purdue.

NBC is shelling out tens of millions of dollars for an exclusive NFL Wild Card playoff game for their streaming platform. Why not do the same for the college game?

[Front Office Sports]