College Football Playoff expansion is on the horizon with the four-team playoff poised to expand to 12 teams beginning with the 2024 season. However, what company will be broadcasting the CFP Semifinals and CFP National Championship Game is still unknown.
Amazon has spent billions of dollars to expand its reach into sports, paying the NFL over $1 billion per season for the exclusive streaming rights to Thursday Night Football. WIth college football as popular as ever, it appears there will be a massive bidding war for the broadcasting rights to the CFP.
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According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN and Fox Sports remain the favorites in a tightly-contested fight for the rights to broadcast the CFP games. However, they are facing much stronger competition from other companies than expected.
Warner Bros. and Discovery have emerged as serious contenders to acquire the broadcasting rights to the College Football Playoff, per the New York Post. There’s also significant competition from Amazon. Furthermore, as explained by sports business insider John Ourand on The Marchand and Ourang Sports Media Podcast, Prime Video is very much in the mix.
“I think the company to watch on this is Amazon. I think Jay Marine (Amazon’s Global Head of Sports) and Marie Donoghue (VP of Amazon’s Global Sports Video) made a really big push to go after the Big Ten…The idea that they pushed so hard for the Big Ten shows that they do want to get involved with this at some point.”John Ourand on negotiations for broadcasting rights to College Football Playoff
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Acquiring the streaming rights to TNF resulted in a significant uptick in subscribers for the company, with Prime Video pulling in massive ratings. While landing the CFP would mean more football fans have to move away from cable television to watch top games, it would be an extremely appealing option to the NCAA.
Even if the CFP didn’t land on Prime Video, the presence of the company will force ESPN and Fox to up their offers even further. At a time when both companies are contributing billions of dollars per year to NFL revenue, it would create an interesting wrinkle to monitor in the bidding war. Fortunately for ESPN, it will hold the exclusive broadcasting rights through the 2025 season.