College Football Playoff to feature select games on TNT Sports in sublicense deal with ESPN through 2028

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TNT Sports has reached an agreement to broadcast 16 College Football Playoff games over the next five years. ESPN, which has agreed to an exclusive contract with the CFP through the 2031-32 season, used its right to sublicense multiple games to Turner. 

The agreement will give TNT rights to broadcast two first-round CFP games over the next five seasons, through the 2028 playoff. Starting in 2026, Turner will also add a pair of quarterfinal games for the next three seasons. The semifinals and College Football Playoff National Championship will remain exclusively on ESPN services. 

The first round of the 2024 College Football Playoff will take place on Dec. 20-21 and will be the first CFP games ever played on campus. 

“It is exciting to add TNT Sports, another highly respected broadcaster, to the College Football Playoff family,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “Sports fans across the country are intimately familiar with their work across a wide variety of sports properties over the past two decades, and we look forward to seeing what new and innovative ideas they bring to the promotion and delivery of these games.” 

The timing of adding the quarterfinal matchups coincides with the end of the initial 12-year CFP contract, which expires after the 2025 playoff. That could lead to major changes in format. Multiple reports have pointed to a potential expansion of the playoff to 14 teams, which would introduce two additional first-round games at on-campus sites. However, no agreement has been made for the future format of the field. 

Turner has a long history with college football. In 1982, TBS became the first cable network to broadcast live college football under a supplemental television contract with the NCAA. Turner last broadcast college football games in 2006, when TBS hosted a number of Big 12 and Pac-10 games that were contracted to Fox, according to Variety

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