ESPN to broadcast college football playoffs

NEW YORK (AP) — The college football playoff system will be televised on ESPN for 12 years once it starts after the 2014 season,

the network said Wednesday.

The title game will be played on a Monday, at least a week after the semifinals.

The deal is worth close to $500 million a year, a person with knowledge of the terms said. The person spoke on condition of

anonymity because the fee had not been announced.

"Folks are going to love this playoff and the attention ESPN will give to it," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in

a statement.

ESPN's current four-year contract to air the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls along with the BCS title game is worth about $125

million per year.

ESPN will own the rights to all six bowls

involved in the four-team playoff system. Conference commissioners had

decided that

the two semifinals would rotate among those half-dozen sites; the

four not involved each year will host major bowl games similar

to the current BCS contests. The title game will be bid out each

season through a separate process, as the Super Bowl is for

the NFL.

There will be three "contract bowls" that

offer automatic bids to particular conferences in years they don't host

one of the

semifinals: the Rose, Sugar and Orange. The network already had

separate deals for the same 12-year period through the 2025

season for those games, which are affiliated with the Pac-12, Big

12, Big Ten, ACC and SEC.

The new agreement also gives ESPN the rights

to the three "host bowls," which will feature at-large teams along with

the top

squad from the group of five conferences without ties to a

contract bowl. The sites for the host bowls are still to be determined,

though the most likely landing spots are the Fiesta Bowl in

Glendale, Ariz., the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, and the

Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Wednesday's agreement in principle includes rights for TV, radio, mobile, online and international.

"Because of college football's widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful

than these games," ESPN President John Skipper said.