No sooner did college football approve a revolutionary playoff structure than ESPN made sure at least one aspect of the past remained in place: the Rose Bowl breaking off from the rest of the BCS and signing its own television contract.
ESPN has signed an agreement with the Rose Bowl over the entire 12-year course of the new format.
I don’t know what this would mean for the other bowls’ TV rights, especially as regards to the semifinal rounds of the new playoff structure, although the release seems to imply ESPN would carry the Rose Bowl in years it’s a semifinal. If that’s true, it would seem to dilute the proposed $5 billion agreement the BCS is looking for for its proposed playoff system, especially since the SEC and Big 12’s “Champions Bowl” would likely also have a separate agreement. A big part of that desired number is the addition of semifinals, but four out of twenty-four of those games might end up going to someone else.
On the other hand, the BCS may decide to sell the semifinals separate from the championship game… but from what I read, if that was the case both semifinals would likely be sold together (which doesn’t make much sense to me – maybe what was meant was one semifinal and the title game?). I don’t know how the whole thing will end up working, but I guess we’ll find out in the fall.