Rose Bowl gives in to College Football Playoff expansion: What it means

A general overall view of the Rose Bowl Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
A general overall view of the Rose Bowl Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Rose Bowl finally agreed to amend their contract to allow the College Football Playoff to expand by the 2024 season.

Back in September, the College Football Playoff announced its plans to expand their format from four teams to 12 beginning at the 2026 season. That is due in part to the remaining time they had on their contracts with ESPN, which expire after the 2025 season. The CFP Board of Managers had a plan to begin the expansion for the 2024 season, but the Rose Bowl was the lone dissenting vote, threatening to sink the entire plan.

But according to ESPN, the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract to help accelerate expansion in the College Football Playoff by 2024.

Rose Bowl agrees to amend contract and expand College Football Playoff to 12 teams by 2024

The main reason why the Rose Bowl wouldn’t join the Sugar, Peach, Fiesta, Cotton, and Orange bowls in the agreement is that they wanted assurances that they would be able to keep their usual time slot for their game in future Playoffs, 2026 and beyond. That proposal was declined by the board, since they don’t have a set contract after the 2025 season.

For those unaware, the Rose Bowl is held every New Year’s Day at 5:00 p.m. ET.

By holding out, the bowl could have cost the CFP around $450 million in additional revenue.

According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, the Rose Bowl was “essentially given the ultimatum this week” to agree to terms on the plan, or they would risk being held out of their next television contract in 2026.

Here is how the expanded 12-team Playoff format would work:

  • The sixth-highest ranked champions receive an automatic berth
  • The remaining six at-large spots will be given to the next six highest ranked teams
  • The top four conference champions will receive a first-round bye
  • First-round games are held at the better seed’s home stadium.
  • The quarterfinals and semifinals will be in rotation of the six bowl games (Rose, Orange, Peach, Sugar, Cotton, and Fiesta).

With the Rose Bowl finally on board, CFP expansion is now trending towards beginning by 2024. Now, we wait for an official announcement from the CFP.

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