ESPN Set to Broadcast the Rose Bowl Through 2026

Oregon Ducks Rose Bowl Helmets - H 2012
Harry How/Getty Images

Oregon Ducks Rose Bowl Helmets - H 2012

The news, which extends the network's current deal with the popular event, comes just a few days after a shakeup in the BCS playoff system.

ESPN has hammered out a 12-year extension for broadcast rights to the Rose Bowl. The deal begins in January 2015 and keeps one of college football’s most popular events at the network through 2026.

The news comes on the heels of approval earlier this week of a new four-team BCS playoff system that will pit teams based on won-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head meetings and whether a team is a conference champion. The semifinal games will be rotated among six bowls to be determined (the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls and two others), with one contest on New Year’s Eve and the other on New Year’s Day. The winners advance to the national championship game about a week later, with the site selected through a bidding process, much like the Super Bowl.

The current BCS contract expires after the 2013 season, with the Rose Bowl hosting the final BCS title game. ESPN already has right to the next two Rose Bowls under it's current deal.

Disney now pays $155 million annually for the major bowls and the national championship game that airs on ESPN. Analysts have predicted that the rights fee could soar to $400 million a year or $4.8 billion over 12 years, the length of the deal for the new playoff format. More than 24 million viewers watched this year’s national championship game in which Alabama clobbered LSU. And 17.5 million tuned in to ESPN for the Rose Bowl.

ESPN has an exclusive negotiating window for the BCS beginning in early fall. Financial terms of the Rose Bowl deal were not disclosed.

“The Rose Bowl Game is one of sport’s most meaningful and celebrated events,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement announcing the deal. “Extending our relationship long term with such a prestigious brand will play a significant role in the way fans continue to define ESPN – as the leading destination for college football all year long.”

Added Rose Bowl Management Committee chair Libby Wright: "Since 1989, the Rose Bowl Game has witnessed tremendous success with our partners at ESPN, which includes year-round, multi-platform promotion. ESPN is truly the leader in sports and its support of our brand and product over the years has strengthened our position in post-season college football."