Report: ESPN Bidding To Make BCS Cable-Only

Get ready college football fans. Your dream of hearing Pam Ward call the Fiesta Bowl just got a little more realistic. And that playoff thing? Yeah, not so much. Especially with negotiations for four more years of the BCS going on.

BCS shirt

The whole system may be a frustrating mess, but the price of showing the games is going up, even in this crappy economy. Fox is paying about $82.5 million per year to show all of the BCS bowl games other than the Rose Bowl, but ESPN is reportedly bringing the heat in an attempt to gain control of all five games.

Fox’s deal expires after this season’s games. SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY says that the BCS is seeking $500 million for four years, which is about a 50% increase yearly, and that Disney (ESPN’s parent company) is interested at that price. Fox is reportedly offering about $100 million per year.

If ESPN gets the contract, they will then be able to move the Rose Bowl from ABC to ESPN as well, meaning that all five BCS games would not be on network TV for the first time ever. Although, at this point, if you’re a sports fan and don’t have cable or satellite, you’re just not even trying.

USA TODAY says there’s a very specific reason why Disney wants to put the games on ESPN, and not ABC:

ESPN, in bidding for big events such as NFL Monday Night Football, has a financial advantage of broadcast networks such as Fox, which gets all its TV sports revenues from ad sales. ESPN, like other cable networks, has an additional revenue stream: the fees they charge cable operators, which are the highest in the industry.

If the deal goes through, it will be interesting to see how many ESPN personalities magically decide that the BCS is fantastic and that the whole playoff idea is a bunch of garbage. The network has been milking the “BCS vs. playoff” argument for years, but the overlords at our nation’s six biggest conferences may not take too kindly to the system being trashed on their flagship network.

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