Rose Bowl lands deal to keep College Football Playoff game through 2026

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Sunday, December 4, 2022
Rose Bowl lands deal to keep CFP game through 2026
Top college teams will continue to meet for playoff games in the Rose Bowl for New Year's at least through 2026 under a new deal secured by the Tournament of Roses.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- It's been a New Year's Day tradition in Pasadena for more than a century: The Tournament of Roses Parade in the morning, followed by the Rose Bowl Game between two college football teams in the afternoon.

And an agreement made between the Tournament of Roses and the College Football Playoff will keep top-tier teams playing in the Rose Bowl Game through at least 2026.

"It's an American tradition," said Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo. "People like to enjoy themselves on New Year's Eve, wake up in the morning to a fresh new year. And a big part of that is watching the Rose Parade, enjoying breakfast and light brunch as you move into the game in the afternoon."

The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game are staged every year on New Year's Day, expect when that date falls on Sunday. For example, the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game next month will happen on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.

Gordo said there's a master agreement between the Tournament of Roses and the city of Pasadena that calls for the Rose Bowl Game to be played in the Rose Bowl Stadium through at least 2046.

But the agreement doesn't specify which teams will compete in the game. And as the College Football Playoff expands into a 12-team format in two years, there existed the possibility that the Rose Bowl could have been shut out of the format unless it made an agreement.

Terms of the agreement made Wednesday night were not made public, but Gordo said as he understands it the College Football Playoff games that are played in the Rose Bowl Game will be played on New Year's Day for at least a few more years.

"It keeps the Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl Stadium and enhances it. Because our game played on Jan. 1 will be a playoff game. That's exciting."

Gordo said the deal between the CFP and the Tournament of Roses is only for two years, set to expire in 2026 at the same time the TV deal that the Tournament of Roses has with ESPN is set to expire.

But what the Rose Bowl Game is giving up in the future by signing onto the deal with the CFP is unclear.

"We don't know what the contract is going to be," said James Williams, a sportswriter with the Southern California News Group. "But they may have to give up that New Year's Day 2 p.m. Pacific time slot."

It would mean that the Rose Bowl Game would not start in the afternoon as it has for decades, but could be moved to a game staged later at night.

Williams said the other concern was that if the Tournament of Roses hadn't come to an agreement with the College Football Playoff, the possibility existed that the CFP would stage one of its playoff games at another West Coast venue such as SoFi Stadium in direct competition with the Rose Bowl Game.

"A lot of tradition is at stake," said Williams. "And as the times change, I think the Rose Bowl is going to have to be willing to change with the times as well, despite the tradition and pageantry that comes with it... if they want to stay relevant.

"And I think they would, because tradition doesn't mean anything if you're not relevant."