UCLA was forced to pull out of the Holiday Bowl only hours before Tuesday’s scheduled football game against NC State in San Diego because of COVID-19 problems within the Bruins program. The school announced its decision around 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The Bruins and Wolfpack were scheduled to kick off at Petco Park at 8 p.m. ET.
The spike in COVID-19 cases imperils as much as $400 million in college football playoff advertising for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN sports network because of the growing risk games may be canceled, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated in a note Tuesday. A handful of games have already been called off, including the Hawaii, Military and Fenway bowls, because of the surging caseloads.
In a year during which college athletic programs are seeing huge decreases in revenue, the cancellation or relocation of bowl games carried a huge economic impact as well.
The Big Ten’s Maryland-Ohio State matchup this weekend has been canceled, joining a slate of SEC games already on the sidelines because of COVID-19 positive tests. Maryland-Ohio State was nixed after the Terrapins paused team activities Wednesday while announcing that eight players had tested positive. The game will not be made up, which could have crucial implications for major power Ohio State’s national championship aspirations in an already-shortened season.
President Donald Trump claimed credit Thursday for the Pac-12 Conference restarting its college football season, the week after the Big Ten made the same call. “You’re welcome!!!” the president tweeted, following a unanimous vote by university officials to allow Pac-12 football teams to begin seven-game, conference-only seasons on Nov. 6, as long as they get approval from state and local health authorities.
The Big Ten announced that its Council of Presidents and Chancellors has voted to allow the league to play football this fall. The Big Ten will open its season on the weekend of Oct. 24 with teams playing eight games in eight weeks and a Big Ten Championship Game scheduled for Dec. 19, sources tell CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. That would make the Big Ten eligible for the College Football Playoff as the final CFP Rankings announcement of the season is set or Dec. 20.
A growing number of analysts and insiders are reaching a startling conclusion: While the NFL and its sky-high viewership may be critical to networks as marketers look to unleash their budgets on holiday shoppers, the scrapping of the college Division I football season actually might come with as many silver linings as drawbacks — maybe even more. Why? Because buying the rights to college games has become so expensive that sometimes networks are better off if the games aren’t played at all.
The Big 12 Conference on Wednesday announced that its fall sports season would go on, one day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences called off their 2020 plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The college football season is the latest (partial) casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States — and another blow for media companies who will now be without hundreds of hours of live programming, and the ad revenue that comes with it, in the fall. As of publication time, 52 of the 120 schools that play at the top level of college football — more than 40% of the total — have decided to cancel or postpone their fall sports seasons. The Big Ten and Pac-12, two of the so-called “power five” conferences, announced their decision Tuesday, following similar moves by two smaller leagues, the Mountain West and Mid-American conferences, and unilateral decisions by the University of Connecticut and Old Dominion University in Virginia.
A Tuesday afternoon meeting with conference presidents and chancellors led to the Pac-12 deciding to cancel its fall 2020 college football season and postpone all fall sports through the calendar year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after the Big 10 elected to cancel its fall season earlier on Tuesday. Both conferences hope to play the season in spring 2021 but have not announced any specific plans.
The Big 10 Conference has postponed the 2020 football season because of safety concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced Tuesday. The Big 10 is the first of college football’s elite Power Five conferences to decide against playing football this fall.
The Big Ten is on the verge of not playing football this fall, three people with knowledge of the decision confirmed to the Detroit Free Press. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the decision. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, the people said.
At some top programs, football can generate $150 million and as much as 75% of college sports revenue annually, and schools already have cut three times as many less popular sports during the pandemic as they did in the past three years combined. Now mere weeks away from training camps, the NCAA faces a difficult decision: With so much money on the line, is it possible, or even worth it, to play college football this season?
The Ivy League hasn’t produced a national football champion since 1927, but the small eight-team conference sometimes serves as a bellwether for the giants of college sports. Which is why everyone is bracing for the prospect that the Ivy League is going to take a pass on football this fall. Officials from the Ivy League will announce on Wednesday the status of athletics for the 2020-21 academic year. The best-case scenario is that fall sports will shift their competitions to the spring of 2021. At worst, fall sports will be called off with no chance for seniors to recoup their lost year of eligibility.
CBS will walk away from the SEC when its contract ends after the 2023 football season, and all indications are that the package will move to ESPN/ABC. CBS decided to exit the negotiations for college football’s most-watched TV package after making an aggressive bid in the neighborhood of $300 million per season — a massive increase from the $55 million it currently pays annually.
No league better exemplifies the reality that big-time college sports are driven less by rivalries than by cable cords and subscriber fees. The Big 12 is staring at an economically driven, zero-sum landscape in which other conferences’ gains are frequently its losses, and expansion would put the division into new markets and potentially add millions of dollars to TV rights deals.
ESPN will buy the second half of the Big Ten’s media rights package, ending months of speculation that the two were about to sever their 50-year relationship. ESPN will pay an average of $190 million per year over six years for essentially half the conference’s media rights package, according to several sources close to the talks.
ESPN may owe upwards of $20M in ad make-goods for ratings shortfalls for the two College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Eve, according to media buyers.
ESPN had a 15.2 rating and averaged 28,271,000 viewers for its Sugar Bowl broadcast Thursday night after drawing a 14.8 rating and averaging 28,164,000 viewers for the Rose Bowl, Nielsen said Friday.
According to ImageTrack, a service launched by WPP Group siblings IEG Consulting and Kantar Media, a client looking to lay claim to the title sponsorship of the first Division I football championship game under the new four-team playoff format can expect to fork over some $35 million for the privilege. That’s about twice as much as last night’s Alabama-Notre Dame BCS championship commanded.
Notre Dame’s return to prominence more than two decades after winning its last national championship should mean big ratings for the upcoming college bowl season. The Fighting Irish closed out an undefeated regular season Saturday night on ABC in the season’s highest-rated college football game, capping a fall in which ratings grew sharply on regular carrier NBC as well.
ESPN has secured rights to the entire college football playoff system coming into effect in January 2015 as part of a deal running through early 2026.
Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN has renewed its television deal with the Big 12 conference, home to college football powerhouses Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. The new deal runs through the 2024-25 season and follows a similar deal Fox Sports struck with the Big 12 last season.
ESPN has agreed to pay an average of $80 million a year for the Rose Bowl, industry experts say, which could push the price tag for the playoffs media rights as high as $600 million for an all-in package that includes a championship game, two semifinals and four major bowls each season.
A plan awaiting final approval in which four teams would square off for college football’s national championship could generate more than $3 billion in the next TV rights deal.
The cable channel, known for edgy entertainment and movies, is expected to announce Monday it will be airing college football games on Saturdays this fall. The package of 13 Fox Sports on FX games, some of which will air in primetime, is being carved out of rights deals Fox Sports already has with the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA. Conference USA’s championship game could also air on FX.
Even though the BCS Championship Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Auburn Tigers is on ESPN, stations in the schools’ home territories were making hay (and revenue) by producing pregame specials and live reports that were finding eager advertisers. Said KMTR Eugene, Ore., GM Cambra Ward: “Getting this kind of advertising opportunity in the first days of January is great for us.”