Fort Woth Star-Telegram
Adjust the timetable for the AT&T Cotton Bowl’s potential upgrade to BCS status to 2015, based on Tuesday’s developments.
ESPN and BCS officials announced a four-year agreement Tuesday that will make the cable network the exclusive carrier of 15 BCS bowl games from January 2011 through January 2014, including three national championship games from 2011 through 2013.
ESPN will replace Fox as the BCS’ network when Fox’s agreement concludes after the 2010 bowl games. Tuesday’s announcement means the next potential opportunity for the Arlington-bound Cotton Bowl to become a BCS bowl will not occur until new television agreements are negotiated for 2015 and beyond.
Cotton Bowl officials will move their annual New Year’s Day game to the new Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, effective with the 2010 contest. One reason behind the move from Dallas to Arlington was the hope that the larger, more modern stadium would help the Cotton Bowl become part of the lucrative group of BCS bowls.
Rick Baker, Cotton Bowl president, said he was not surprised by Tuesday’s announcement and understood — based on recent talks with conference commissioners who oversee the BCS — that he would have to wait a little longer before the possibility of BCS inclusion.
"This is not going to be the cycle that we’re moved," Baker said Tuesday. "We realize the commissioners only presented to the networks the exact system that’s currently in place [for BCS contract renewals]. We’re hopeful something will happen in the next four-year cycle. We’re all aware that, if there’s any significant changes in the BCS, it will happen at that time."
Contract negotiations for the next round of BCS-related television rights will not occur until 2012, which Baker considers a plus for his game. By that time, the new Cowboys stadium — scheduled to open for the 2009 football season — will have been the site for three Cotton Bowls, a Super Bowl, an NBA All-Star Game and, possibly, a Final Four.
The NCAA is scheduled to announce site selections today for 2012-16 Final Four events, with the Cowboys’ stadium on the list of potential venues. Baker said having so many high-profile events in Arlington between now and 2012 should "only help our cause" with BCS officials.
"It’s harder to pull the trigger on a change to a new facility until the facility is open," Baker said.
In terms of the BCS’ immediate plans, Tuesday’s deal means three BCS bowls — the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar — will be on ESPN each season, from January 2011 through January 2014. ESPN also will air the BCS national championship games in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
ABC, the broadcast partner of ESPN, holds the TV rights to the Rose Bowl through 2014, as well as the rights to the 2014 BCS national title game in a separate agreement. Both broadcast companies are owned by Walt Disney Co.
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760