By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hopes players get a cut of the money generated by an expanded College Football Playoff.
“I do believe the players should receive a revenue share from the massive TV deals that have been worked out,” Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference before the eighth-ranked Wolverines host Hawaii.
The plan to expand the CFP from four teams was approved Friday, and the new-look tournament will begin as soon as 2024 and as late as 2026.
“Great,” Harbaugh said. “All for it.”
An 11-game championship bracket could be worth as much as $2 billion in media rights to the conferences that play major college football, starting in 2026. If the new format begins before the current 12-year contract with ESPN expires, the conferences could make an additional $450 million over the final two years. The current deal that ends after the 2025 season pays about $470 million per year.
CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said ESPN would get the first bid on any new playoff inventory added in 2024 and 2025. After 2025, there is no TV contract for a playoff. The plan is to take the new format to the open market and possibly involve multiple TV partners instead of just ESPN.
In the new playoff format, six of the highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large, selection-committee selections will earn a spot. The top four seeds would be conference champions, receiving byes into the second round. First-round games would be played on campuses and the rest at bowl sites.
The CFP management committee, which includes conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, are scheduled to meet Thursday in Dallas. Dates of games, host sites, available television windows and the impact on the regular-season schedule are among the topics they are expected to discuss.
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