Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Shorts: College Football Playoff Resists Scheduling Change

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Shorts: College Football Playoff Resists Scheduling Change

Article excerpt

College Football Playoff doesn't want schedule move

The College Football Playoff says there is no interest in ESPN's desire to move next season's semifinals from New Year's Eve to Saturday, Jan. 2. The Sports Business Journal reported high-ranking ESPN executives talked to College Football Playoff officials about switching the dates for the next semifinals. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock and ESPN acknowledged having discussions about a one-time schedule shift in separate statements Monday to The Associated Press.

"We've started a new tradition and we don't want to back away from it now," Hancock told the SBJ.

Next season's semifinals are scheduled for Dec. 31, a Thursday, at the Orange and Cotton bowls. The following weekend is the last of the NFL regular season, when the league plays all its games on Sunday leaving Saturday relatively free.

ESPN pays about $470 million a year over 12 years for TV rights to the playoff, and television ratings for the first year of the playoff were monumental the games accounted for the three most- watched shows in cable television history. Network executives are worried that a move to New Year's Eve could lead to a sharp decline because many people are involved in other activities on that day/ night, including work during the afternoon, when one of the games would be played, and not watching television.

As part of a yearly rotation, next season's semifinal games will be hosted by the Orange and Cotton bowls, which are scheduled to take place on Dec. 31. The Rose and Cotton bowls, which hosted this season's semifinals, are locked in to New Year's Day per the contract with ESPN.

The NFL, meanwhile, is considering expanding its playoff field and include a playoff game on the Monday night opposite the national championship game.

"If it comes down to this, the fans would be the losers if they had to choose," Hancock told Sports Business Journal. …

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