BCS: Fox bails out, ESPN waiting to finish it off

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Los Angeles-based Fox released a statement today explaining that it wasn’t going to renew its contract to carry the Bowl Championship Series after its deal runs out after 2010.

All that’s left is for the ESPN celebration party, because Disney has not only outbid (and out-Foxed) the process, but will move everything — including the Rose Bowl — to its cable channel from 2011 to 2014.

After which time, Barack Obama’s plan to start a playoff system can begin.

“Even with today’s vast economic uncertainties, Fox Sports made a very competitive bid to keep broadcasting BCS games free to every home in America, one that included a substantial rights fee increase, and certainly as much as any over-the-air network could responsibly risk,” the network said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the University presidents and BCS commissioners were not satisfied and they’ve decided to take their jewel events to pay television. We wish everyone well.”

ESPN is “pay television”? Never thought of it that way…. But it seems to be once you consider that you pay a cable bill, and it’s included. Which is what’ll happen early next year when all analog TV disappears.

The Wall Street Journal story (linked here) reports that Fox’s bid for $400 million for a four-year extension was all it could afford. ESPN/Disney bid $500 milllion.

And why it’s not completely agreed upon yet, this deal may result in the Rose Bowl, which is excluded from the BCS package because it has an exclusive deal with ABC, moving from over-the-air to ESPN as well, giving the cable network the BCS championship, as well as the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose bowls staggered over a week’s time, starting on New Year’s Day, 2011.

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