The Rose Bowl has until the end of the week – at the latest – to drop its demand to continue playing its traditional timeslot as part of ongoing negotiations with the College Football Playoff, CBS Sports has learned. The bowl remains the only hurdle as CFP aims to expand to 12 teams in 2024, two years before the contract expires.
If the Rose Bowl refuses to agree, the CFP will not be able to expand until 2026 and the Rose Bowl could be dropped from the selection process.
The Rose Bowl has stuck to its goal of starting January 1 at 5:00 pm ET. This time slot is considered one of the most valuable in sports television.
However, in the extended playoffs, all parties begin to realize that the games themselves are more important than the bowls in which the competition is held.
The Rose Bowl has offered to host the CFP quarter-finals in 2024 and 2025 – possibly without their traditional Big Ten and Pac-12 partners – in exchange for keeping their time slot under the CFP’s new media rights contract starting in 2026, source , a close situation told CBS Sports.
When asked what influence the Rose Bowl has in this process, the person involved in the CFP process simply replied, “They don’t have any.”
An ESPN report said an “ultimatum” was issued on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl for a decision to be made.
Sources tell CBS Sports that a deadline is approaching “where we should fish or cut bait.” A CFP official said an early expansion would not be possible after this weekend’s conference championship games amid peak bowl season and playoffs.
CFP is in the ninth year of a 12-year contract with ESPN that expires after the 2025 season. Otherwise, the necessary parties have agreed to expand to 12 teams and are aiming to do so before the end of their current contract with ESPN. However, the Rose Bowl is the only party holding back the process, which will make the expansion wait until 2026 and therefore cost CFP and its partners hundreds of millions of dollars.
All 10 FBS conferences, Notre Dame and participating New Year’s Eve tournaments have already agreed on issues such as campus play, game dates and revenue sharing for early expansion in 2024 and 2025. However, the early expansion agreement must be unanimous. According to one source, if Rose Bowl doesn’t agree, she will single-handedly “kill” the early expansion.
If the Rose Bowl doesn’t become part of the CFP after the 2025 season, there are several sites that would like to take its place. Destination cities such as Charlotte (Duke’s Mayo Bowl), San Antonio (Alamo Bowl), Tampa (Gasparilla Bowl), Las Vegas (Las Vegas Bowl), and Nashville (Music City Bowl) are options.
Over the years, every BCS/CFP scheduling decision – until now – has taken into account that the Rose Bowl can broadcast its game in its chosen time slot. The game is traditionally scheduled after the Rose Parade Tournament. The timing was such that the sun always set in the west over the San Gabriel Mountains during the game, creating one of the most iconic locations in American sports.
Now that the CFP is ready to expand, its handlers are less tolerant of meeting the Rose Bowl’s demands. This 5:00 pm timeslot will simply be too valuable in the future when it first feels like games are more important than bowl sites.
“It’s the equivalent of Sunday’s Super Bowl,” one industry source said of the 5:00 p.m. timeslot. “New Year’s is like Sunday, even if it’s not Sunday. Everyone is experiencing New Year’s Eve. They have been sitting with their hands folded for 5 hours. this is the best window there is.”
The main reasons for the early expansion are to give teams more access to the playoffs and get an additional $450 million a year from rights holder ESPN so it can air additional games in 2024 and 2025. will be signed for 2026 and beyond. If the Rose Bowl is costing CFP and its partners half a million dollars, why would they be inclined to include it in the future, especially given that they are likely to maintain their demand for time slots?
It’s unclear what leverage Rose Bowl believes she has in the negotiations. This broadcast window is valuable, and CFP stakeholders seem tired of adjusting the Rose Bowl to an arrangement that dates back nearly a quarter of a century.
“It’s all about the Rose Bowl. It’s obvious,” one source familiar with the matter told CBS Sports.
There was no indication of how the Big Ten and Pac-12 felt about the situation, but perhaps that’s obvious given that neither conference is related to the Rose Bowl in this matter.
The Rose Bowl began to relinquish its exclusivity in 1998, the first year of the BCS. At that time, he agreed to end an unbroken streak of Big Ten and Pac-12 champions that dates back to 1947. In agreement with the BCS, the Rose Bowl surrendered its two spots every four years in rotation to host the BCS Championship. The game. This first happened after the 2001 season when Miami defeated Nebraska for their last national title. Both schools mentioned at the time that they must have felt like underdogs after 55 straight years of Big Ten matches against Pac-8/10.
When the CFP began in 2014, it was certain that the Rose Bowl would never host a national championship. Los Angeles was building a new SoFi stadium, and the city of Pasadena did not have the funds to beat the city of Los Angeles. SoFi will host the 2023 CFP National Championship. Meanwhile, since 2014, the Rose Bowl has hosted the CFP semi-finals in 2015, 2018 and 2021.
“The brilliance of this game is fading away [if the Rose doesn’t agree]“said one of the bowl leaders, who is not part of the CFP system. Maybe Rose Bowl just needs to give up, take it easy.
“It’s just a matter of who blinks first.”