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2017 College Football Playoffs Revenue

How much money is at stake for the ACC?

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama
The College Football Playoffs have been good to the ACC so far.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, the College Football Playoff Committee released its annual revenue distribution plan for the 2017-18 season. When you factor in the Orange Bowl contract, the ACC is guaranteed at least $81.5 million, but could realistically split over $100 million.

2017-18 CFP Payouts

There is quite a bit of money at stake in the postseason, and the ACC would certainly like to get a slice of that pie! Here are some highlights of the projected revenue distribution numbers from the official College Football Playoff website. College Football Playoff Revenue Distribution Policies (The following estimates of the CFP revenue distribution are based on preliminary calculations for the 2017-18 season and are only approximate projections of potential revenue distribution from each component):

Each conference will receive $300,000 for each member school who’s football team meets the NCAA’s APR for participation in a post-season football game.

Conferences that have contracts for their champions to participate in the Orange, Rose or Sugar Bowl will receive a base amount of approximately $54 million.

A conference will receive $6 million for each team that is selected for the semifinal games. There will be no additional distribution to conferences whose teams qualify for the national championship game.

A conference will receive $4 million for each team that plays in a non-playoff bowl under the arrangement (in 2017-18, the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls).

Each conference whose team participates in a playoff semifinal, Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowl, or in the national championship game will receive $2.25 million to cover expenses for each game.

source: College Football Playoff Revenue Distribution Policies

Thus, if every ACC team meets the minimum APR requirements (likely) and there is at least one ACC team in the playoffs (likely), one in the Orange Bowl (guaranteed), and a third in a New Year's Six "Access" Bowl (plausible), then the conference will receive:


Description est. conf. total est. per team
Description est. conf. total est. per team
APR distribution $4.2 million $0.3 million
base amount $54 million $3.86 million
semi-final bowl $6.00 million $0.43 million
Orange bowl $27.5 million $1.96 million
access bowl $4.00 million $0.29 million
travel expense* $2.25 million $0.16 million
travel expense* $2.25 million $0.16 million
TOTAL $100.2 million $7.16 million

* presumably the travel expense reimbursements will be passed on to the participating team, but I show it here simply for completeness.

So payout plus travel reimbursement is worth $8.25 million for a semi-final game, $6.25 million for a non-playoff NY6 bowl.

BOTTOM LINE: Big bowl games are big business for college football teams. Let me put this in basketball terms... each team the ACC places into the College Football Playoffs is comparable to having a team make it all the way to the Final Four in basketball. Each team in a New Year's Six "Access" Bowl is like a team that makes it to the Elite Eight. Yes, the competition is stiff - but the payouts are very, very good.