No matter what happens with the rights to the new college football Bowl Championship Series format, ESPN will retain a strong presence. The network has signed a 12-year deal to carry the Sugar Bowl -- which will either match the winners of the Big 12 and SEC or host a national semifinal game -- starting in January 2015.
It had already inked a 12-year arrangement for the Rose Bowl. ESPN.com reported that a Presidential Oversight Committee has given the go-ahead to sign a massive BCS deal with ESPN for the new format beginning in two seasons. Reports have placed the value at $6 billion over 12 years.
The Sugar Bowl will take place on New Year’s Day in prime time annually. As with just about every rights deal that ESPN signs, this one gives it distribution rights to a slew of platforms, from radio to tablets to the Xbox to its 3D network.
ESPN has a deal with Vizio to serve as the Rose Bowl’s presenting sponsor through the 2014 game, meaning that a new backer could come with the new rights agreement. The New Orleans game is the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
ESPN took over the Sugar Bowl as part of a BCS deal in 2010 after Fox had it even without carrying any regular-season college football then.