CFP makes it official: 12-team playoff in 2024

The College Football Playoff made official Thursday its plan to expand to a 12-team format beginning in 2024.

The final hurdle was removed late Wednesday when the Rose Bowl finally acquiesced to the expansion.

“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, in a news release. “More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes. We appreciate the leaders of the six bowl games and the two future national championship game host cities for their cooperation. Everyone realized that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen.”

The first round of the 2024 playoff will take place the week ending Saturday, Dec. 21.

The 2024 quarterfinals will take place in the Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the playoff semifinals. The 2025 quarterfinals will take place in the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, while the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl will host the playoff semifinals.

The national championship games will be played Jan. 20, 2025, in Atlanta, and Jan. 19, 2026, in Miami.

The CFP’s current TV contract with ESPN expires following the 2025 season and the group’s Board of Managers in September agreed to an expanded playoff format beginning in the 2026 season. But soon after, the CFP began working to expand the 2024 and ’25 seasons, as well — a move that could bring in an estimated $450 million in revenue.

While most parties — particularly the other five CFP bowls — agreed to amend the current contract to accommodate the early expanded format, the Rose Bowl in November announced publicly it was not yet ready to agree to the change. Much of the reluctancy was over potentially surrendering the coveted 5 p.m. ET time slot on New Year’s Day that the Rose Bowl enjoys.

Multiple outlets reported the CFP gave the Rose Bowl to the end of this week to agree to terms of the early expansion or risk being left out of the new CFP contract beginning in 2026.

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