As college football maps out its new postseason order, ESPN is maintaining its connection with the Granddaddy of them all.
The worldwide leader has reached a 12-year extension -- 2015-through 2026 -- with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference to continue televising the Rose Bowl into the next decade. The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, begins with the 2015 Rose Bowl game, with rights cutting across the linear telecast, as well as ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and on smartphones, tablets, online and on Xbox Live via WatchESPN. Additionally, ESPN has secured rights to distribute the Rose Bowl Game on ESPN 3D and around the globe through ESPN International.
Each year, the Rose Bowl will be played on New Year's Day at 5 p.m. (ET)/2 p.m. (PT), or on Jan. 2 in years when Jan, 1 falls on a Sunday.
ESPN began televising the Rose Bowl in 2011, with TCU's victory over Wisconsin drawing 20.6 million viewers and the 2012 contest, during which Oregon defeated the Badgers, tackling 17.6 million. Before that, broadcast brethren ABC had carried the contest since 1989.
"The Rose Bowl Game is one of sport's most meaningful and celebrated events," said ESPN president John Skipper. "Extending our relationship long term with such a prestigious brand will play a significant role in the way fans continue to define ESPN - as the leading destination for college football all year long."
The new Rose Bowl rights pact follows news on June 26, when the powers of college football agreed to institute a new four-team playoff system, following the expiration of the contract for the Bowl Championship Series after the 2013 regular-season and the title game the following January.
Whatever is determined to be the exact postseason bowl rotation as part of the future format, ESPN now has retained the rights to the Rose Bowl Game each year. The previous eight-year Rose Bowl deal has two more seasons remaining - the 2013 Rose Bowl Game, 2014 Rose Bowl Game and 2014 BCS National Championship -- within the current post-season structure.
As the BCS incumbent carrier, ESPN will have the first crack at the new TV negotiations that are expected to take place this fall.
The new four-team college playoff format will go into effect in 2015 and extend through 2026. Six bowl games will be in the rotation to host the semifinals every fourth year. The title tilt will be bid out - a la the Super Bowl.
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