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ESPN: Tournament of Roses, CFP Have Reached a Deal on Rose Bowl Game, Terms Unknown

Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 | 9:00 pm

ESPN reported Wednesday night that the Tournament of Roses has agreed to terms on an agreement that will allow the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams.

The nature of the agreement was not known on Wednesday night. 

“Source: CFP officials have been informed that the Rose Bowl has signed an agreement that will allow the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams in 2024 and 2025,” tweeted Pete Thammel, College Football Senior Writer for ESPN.

It is important to note, the stadium was not in negotiations with the CFP. The Tournament of Roses owns the game.

A spokesperson with the Tournament would not comment on Wednesday.

Any deal reached that would change the time, date or location of the game would force the City to sign a new contract with the Tournament. During the pandemic, the Tournament signed an amendment to the Master Lease Agreement defining the Rose Bowl Game as a football event that takes place in the Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 for the next 19 years.

The City has not reported a new agreement between the City and the Tournament of Roses as of Wednesday which could indicate that the Tournament was able to get some of its demands met. 

“I look forward to attending the Rose Bowl Football Game on Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl Stadium as outlined in the City’s agreement,” said Mayor Victor Gordo. “See you all at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1.”

The Tournament wanted to keep the Rose Bowl Game at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl. 

“I am optimistic that the Tournament and the College Football Playoff will reach an agreement that meets the needs of the Tournament, the City, and the CFP,” Council Member Steve Madison said on Wednesday. “As the owner of the game, the Tournament is handling these negotiations with the CFP.  As the owner of the stadium [and all of the real property where Pasadena’s New Year’s Day activities take place], the City and the RBOC are, of course, intently interested and highly invested in seeing a workable solution come together.” 

The Tournament received an ultimatum from the CFP over a planned 2024 expansion that would put the focus on the games and not the bowl traditions.

Under the new format the bowl games would be used to host quarterfinal and semifinal games on a rotating schedule which could mean the Rose Bowl Game would be played in December in some years.

Members of the Tournament met with the City Manager on Monday after concerns over the negotiations spread across the City. Councilmember Tyron Hampton called for transparency in the future as the Tournament of Roses negotiates media rights for the game. 

“The city has invested $200 million in the Rose Bowl stadium,” said Hampton, who represents District 1, where the stadium is located. “It’s my job to protect that investment which came from the people of Pasadena. The City of Pasadena has been a great partner. Relationships are double sided and the tournament needs to reciprocate more. The City is now in communication with the Tournament, but moving forward when decisions that affect the people’s investment are being considered and discussed, the tournament  should be communicating and consulting with its biggest investors and partner, the people of the city of Pasadena.”

On Tuesday, Laura Farber, who chairs the Tournament’s Rose Bowl Game Committee, said the Tournament and the CFP were still talking despite the ultimatum. 

If the Tournament of Roses did not come to terms with the CFP, the ‘Granddaddy of them All’ would have been excluded from the playoff expansion and a media contract worth nearly half a billion dollars.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Rose Bowl Stadium referred all questions back to the Tournament of Roses.

The New Year’s Day festivities bring about $200 million into the region according to a 2018 study conducted by the Enigma Research Corporation, which estimated event-related spending.

It would not be good for Pasadena to split the Rose parade and the Rose Bowl,” said Chamber President Paul Little. “It is a century-old tradition that I hope the Tournament insists on maintaining.” 

Little said the parade is a new year’s day tradition for people across the globe. 

“We do move it one day when New Year falls on a Sunday, but that has been a tradition since the beginning of the parade,” Little said. “Moving it to match a playoff game that could fall in late December could impact the audience for the parade in person and the television viewership. I certainly hope the Rose Parade remains a New Year tradition.”

The relationship between the City and the Tournament turned acrimonious after the CFP moved the Rose Bowl Game out of Pasadena during the pandemic. City officials said they were not consulted and found out about the decision when it was announced on television during a UCLA game. 

The CFP expansion from four teams to 12 could mean a media contract worth nearly half a billion dollars. Organizers for the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta bowls have already agreed to the new terms.   

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