Rose Bowl game organizers cleared the way for the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams starting in the 2024 season, informing CFP officials Wednesday they are willing to alter agreements for the first two years of the larger playoff.
A person with knowledge of the discussions between game organizers and CFP officials told The Associated Press that the Rose Bowl is prepared to be flexible and wants to continue to be part of the playoff beyond 2025.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the presidents and chancellors who oversee the playoff still needed to give final approval on expansion plans. ESPN first reported the agreement between the Rose Bowl and the CFP.
The university leaders who make up the CFP board of managers were pushing for a decision from Rose Bowl officials by Wednesday about whether they would amend contracts for 2024 and ’25 and allow the playoff to triple in size from four teams to 12.
The Rose Bowl is scheduled to have a traditional Pac-12-Big Ten matchup in those seasons. To have a 12-team playoff, the Rose Bowl would need to host a quarterfinal in its traditional Jan. 1 time slot.
Rose Bowl officials had asked the CFP to guarantee the game would remain on New Year’s Day in the new format for 2026 and beyond.
CFP leaders balked.
The original 12-year contract the CFP has with ESPN expires after the 2025-26 season. CFP officials had being unwilling to make any binding commitments about the College Football Playoff beyond 2025.
Expanding the College Football Playoff is expected to bring in an extra $450 million in gross revenue over the final two years of the current contract.
The Rose Bowl is one of six that currently rotate as hosts of the CFP semifinals every three years. The five other bowls and host cities for the championship games scheduled to be held after the 2024 and ’25 seasons had already agreed to accommodate a new CFP format.
Had the Rose Bowl stood in the way of early expansion, the 122-year-old bowl game dubbed the Granddaddy of Them All could have been left out of the next set of deals with the CFP.
Two weeks ago, Rose Bowl organizers told The AP in a statement: “We have no intention of being the lone roadblock that would keep expansion from happening before the end of its current cycle.”
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