The bidding war for the rights to the college football playoff, which begins with the 2014-15 season, has been won by ESPN, according to a tweet from ESPN's Joe Schad:
ESPN officially announces it has acquired rights to college football playoff for 12 years— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 21, 2012
While full details of the agreement are not yet known, Schad's announcement that it is for 12 years should make it quite substantial.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 2:10 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
The Wall Street Journal's Rachel Bachman reported figures for ESPN's lucrative new deal to broadcast future college football playoff games.
She wrote, "A person familiar with the negotiations said it is worth about $470 million annually or $5.64 billion for the duration of the contract."
---End of Update---
The move does not come as a huge surprise, as ESPN already holds the rights to the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl, and just recently it was announced that it had reached an agreement to broadcast the Sugar Bowl starting in 2014.
ESPN has been taking over the college football market in recent years with all these acquisitions, not to mention existing deals with the Big East, though the conference has been exploring other options with its contract set to expire.
The college football playoff is something that was talked about, at least by fans and the media, for years before the NCAA presidents voted to approve the system over the summer.
The playoffs will consist of four teams playing in a total of three games. According to Heather Dinich of ESPN.com, the playoff system will rotate among six different bowl games with the semifinal games being played on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 and the championship being played on the "first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semifinal game is played."
This system has the potential to be huge for college football, which already enjoys a healthy profit thanks to the bowl system and BCS Championship Game. ESPN landed a major coup by acquiring the rights to this playoff.