College football commissioners knew a playoff would generate a lot of money, but their initial estimates were significantly lower than the nearly $500 million a year ESPN offered for the rights to broadcast the playoff, according to a report from CBSSports.com.
According to the report, commissioners at the BCS meeting in April thought a playoff would be worth $350 million per year. That valuation was obviously low as ESPN's offer of close to $500 million per year may only represent an initial bid. At that price, a 12-year deal would be worth almost $6 billion.
ESPN has an exclusive 30-day negotiating window, although it is not clear if the window has begun. According to the report, FOX is also interested in bidding on the rights to the playoff. In addition to negotiating a price to broadcast the playoff, the structure is also being discussed.
The college football playoff is scheduled to begin after the 2014 season.