Major US sports broadcaster ESPN is reportedly in talks with US American football collegiate tournament the College Football Playoff (CFP) to extend its exclusive broadcast contract for the competition for a further six years.
ESPN, which is owned by US media giant Disney, has been the sole owner of domestic rights to the coveted college competition since its first year in 2013.
The initial 12-year contract is set to expire at the end of the 2025 playoff, with ESPN itself reporting through its media arm that the broadcaster is looking to extend that contract through to the end of the 2031 season.
It was reported that the network is looking to pay around $1.3 billion for the rights and their continued exclusivity, amounting to around $216.6 million per year, which would be more than double the current yearly amount of $600 million it reportedly pays.
The doubling of the price of the rights comes as the playoff expands to 12 teams from four in the 2024 season, with the rights doubling as the number of live games has too.
The increased financial burden of the rights has also opened doors for ESPN to come to an agreement with the CFP that would allow it to sub-license games to other broadcasters such as Fox, which would reportedly be interested.
The CFP did not initially aim to have an exclusive agreement with ESPN before the original deal, with a sub-licensing deal now opening the games up for wider distribution.
Michigan won the 2023 College Football Playoff last night (January 8) with a 34-13 win over Washington.