TNT to sublicense College Football Playoff games from ESPN

As the College Football Playoff format changes start this upcoming season, details on how it will operate and look are continuing to come out.

One of those being TV rights and schedule.

On Wednesday, ESPN and the College Football Playoff announced that the network came to a five-year contract agreement with TNT Sports — a subdivision of Warner Bros. Discovery — to sublicense select CFP games from ESPN, starting with two first-round games this upcoming season. Games will be broadcast on TNT.

‘We’re delighted to reach this agreement with ESPN, providing TNT Sports the opportunity to showcase these College Football Playoff games on our platforms for years to come,’ TNT Sports Chairman and CEO Luis Silberwasser said in a statement. ‘TNT Sports aims to delight fans and drive maximum reach and engagement for these marquee games.’

Broadcasting college football will be a first for TNT Sports — which has added rights to the NHL and MLB in recent years to its resume to go along with the NBA and the NCAA Tournament. As part of the deal with ESPN, TNT Sports will also receive two quarterfinal games on top of its two first-round games starting in 2026. Per the press release, ESPN will broadcast all other CFP games on its networks including the national championship game.

‘ESPN is pleased to sublicense to TNT Sports a select number of early round games of the College Football Playoff, an event we’ve helped to grow — alongside the CFP — into one of the preeminent championships,’ ESPN executive vice president, programming & acquisitions Rosalyn Durant said in a statement. ‘We’re confident in the reach and promotion that this new agreement will provide as we enter the new, expanded playoff era.’

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the release, but according to the Associated Press, the sublicense of the CFP to TNT Sports is possible because of ESPN’s new $7.8 billion deal it signed back in March to retain the rights to the CFP.

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College Football Playoff format

The news of TNT Sports joining the broadcast rights for the CFP comes after the College Football Playoff Board of Managers unanimously approved the adoption of the College Football Playoffs format going from five teams to 12, i.e. the 5+7 model format, back in February.

‘It is exciting to add TNT Sports, another highly respected broadcaster, to the College Football Playoff family,’ Executive Director of the College Football Playoff 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.’

In the 5+7 model format, the four highest-ranked conference champions earn first-round byes and are seeded one through four, with the remaining eight teams getting seeded five through 12. These eight teams then play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team.

Here is a look at the schedule for the 2024-25 College Football Playoff with the 12-team model:

First round (on campus)

Friday, Dec. 20, 2024: One game
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2024: Three games


Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2024: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2025: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl Game and Allstate Sugar Bowl


Thursday, Jan. 9, 2025: Capital One Orange Bowl
Friday, Jan. 10, 2025: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

National championship

Monday, Jan. 20, 2025: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)

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