$7.3 billion is the sum ESPN will pay for the 12-year broadcast rights for NCAA football’s four major bowl games, plus the two semifinal bowls and the national championship game.
Since the playoffs draw championship interest to three games instead of just one, the moneymaking potential is huge, and many say it’s only a matter of time before the bracket is expanded to eight teams or more.
“I do believe that this will be the first step in an expansion in what will likely be an eight-team playoff eventually,” says Paul Swangard, director of the University of Oregon’s Sports Marketing Center.
As the TV money keeps growing, program budgets and coaching salaries are increasingly on par with the pros. But the only ones who aren’t seeing a payday are the players.