College Football Playoff Reportedly Agrees to ESPN Contract Through 2031

The extension would begin in 2026

College Football Playoffs
Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy drops back to pass during the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game at NRG Stadium.
Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

The future of the format of the College Football Playoffs will represent something of a break from how the playoffs have taken place in the past. And while the future of college football’s postseason is in flux, one thing about that series of games is not — namely, who will be broadcasting it.

Writing at Yahoo! Sports, Ross Dellenger reports that ESPN and College Football Playoff have agreed to extend their broadcasting agreement by another six years — and that the extension will represent a billion dollars in income each year.

As Dellenger reports, the new contract will bring in $1.3 billion each year, beginning in 2026. He points to a vote by the heads of the Big 12 and ACC conferences as being the deciding factor in allowing the contract to proceed. The expansion of the playoff bracket will result in a dramatic increate in income for College Football Playoff; that $1.3 billion, as per Dellenger’s reporting, is a threefold increase over what the CFP is making from the current playoff format.

Still, there’s a lot that can happen between now and when this extension is set to go into effect. Specifically, the nature of student-athletes is currently in flux after an NLRB ruling last month concerning Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team unionizing. The issue has quickly become a partisan one, and it seems unlikely that Dartmouth’s team would be the only squad to opt to unionize. How that might play into the large CFP payday will be a debate to watch between now and 2026 — and, potentially, beyond.

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