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College Football Playoff: Following the money to a new system

WHY? — If fans want to believe their clamoring for a playoff produced one, they can. But here’s 470 million reasons why there’s a College Football Playoff.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 27, 2014

Why a four-team playoff in 2014? Well, fans have been clamoring for a playoff, or a better playoff, for decades. And several BCS controversies in the 2000s have fueled the demand.

But it also comes down to money.

The fractured viewing of television has made sports broadcasts more lucrative than ever — ballgames are one of the last public marketplaces in America — and the College Football Playoff certainly will produce a big increase in revenue.

The 10 Division I-A conferences will reap an average of $470 million annually from television, according to USA Today. The power conferences — the Big 12, ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 — will split 71.5 percent of the annual revenue. The other five leagues (Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mid-American, Mountain West and American) will split 27 percent. Notre Dame will receive slightly less than one percent of the annual revenue ($3.5 million). The three remaining independents will split 0.5 percent.

USA Today estimated operating expenses would cost between $125 million and $150 million a year.

The revenue numbers do not include the payouts from major bowls. The Big Ten and Pac-12 will split $80 million a year from the Rose Bowl, as will the Big 12 and SEC from the Sugar Bowl. The ACC will receive approximately $27.5 million from the Orange Bowl.

Thus, the Big 12 could receive approximately $90 million per year from the playoff and Sugar Bowl.

In addition to the revenue split, conferences will receive $6 million per team participating in the semifinals and $4 million per team participating in the other major bowls.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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