CFP's Financial Success Could Lead To Potential Expansion
The CFP is "operating so successfully that there seems to be just two logical paths forward -- to leave well-enough alone or pursue additional growth through an expansion of the playoff from four to eight teams," according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. The CFP's six sites -- the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Peach and Cotton bowls, plus the National Championship game -- "paid out a combined" $549M to conferences and schools in '18-19. By comparison, the other 33 bowl games last season "paid out a combined" $99M. The CFP rotation "helps subsidize the bowl expenses of teams in lesser bowl games through revenue sharing with all 10 conferences and independents in major college football." The CFP's bottom line also "dwarfs that of the previous system," the BCS, as the combined payout of those six aforementioned games, plus the BCS championship, was $227M during its last year of existence ('13-14). Most of that money, then and now, is "due to ESPN, which is paying about" $7.3B combined to "televise those six bowl games, plus the championship." From a larger business standpoint, CFP expansion at the major college level "could further divide the 40-game postseason system into games that count vs. consolation games." Depending on how the revenue is shared, it also "could further widen the gap between the rich and poor of college sports" (USA TODAY, 1/10).