An expanded College Football Playoff for the 2024 and '25 seasons reportedly took a major step toward becoming reality on Wednesday.
Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday night that the Rose Bowl agreed to terms with the CFP that would allow the current four-team playoff format to expand to 12 teams as early as the 2024 season.
The CFP's current TV contract with ESPN expires following the 2025 season and the group's Board of Managers in September agreed to an expanded playoff format beginning in the 2026 season. But soon after, the CFP began working to expand the 2024 and '25 seasons, as well -- a move that could bring in an estimated $450 million in revenue.
While most parties -- particularly the other five CFP bowls -- agreed to amend the current contract to accommodate the early expanded format, the Rose Bowl in November announced publicly it was not yet ready to agree to the change. Much of the reluctancy was over potentially surrendering the coveted 5 p.m. ET time slot on New Year's Day that the Rose Bowl enjoys.
"As the only New Year's Six bowl with an independent contract, we're working to navigate our existing agreement," Rose Bowl Management Committee chair Laura Farber told ESPN at the time. "While we're willing to work through certain areas, we've maintained that an exclusive broadcast window on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. PT is important to the Rose Bowl Game."
Multiple outlets reported the CFP gave the Rose Bowl to the end of this week to agree to terms of the early expansion or risk being left out of the new CFP contract beginning in 2026.
While terms of the deal -- including potential game times for future Rose Bowls -- have not yet been made public, reports stated that with this agreement in hand, any remaining obstacles to announcing the early expansion are formalities and that an announcement of the early expansion could be made this week.
The other five bowl games under the CFP contract that previously agreed to the early expansion are the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Peach and Cotton.
--Field Level Media