The storied old Rose Bowl isn't going anywhere.
In a move that both affirmed the importance of the Rose Bowl, the oldest and greatest bowl game in all of college football, and sent a message to the college football world that, while things are changing and evolving with the adoption of a playoff system, things actually aren't changing that much at all, ESPN, the Big Ten conference, the Pac-12 conference and ESPN announced in late June of 2012 that they had reached an agreement under which ESPN would remain the broadcast partner for the Rose Bowl for a staggering 12 years. Financial details were not disclosed, though some media sources hinted that the deal was extremely lucrative.
The agreement was to take effect in January of 2015 and would run through 2026.
Under terms of the deal, the Rose Bowl game would continue to be played in Pasadena at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on New Year's Day, except in those years in which January 1 falls on a Sunday. In those years, the game will be played on January 2. Also under terms of the deal, the game will continue to feature the champions of the Big Ten and the Pac-12; as such the contract ensures that one of college football's oldest and greatest traditions will not abandon its roots.
In a press release announcing the deal, ESPN noted that it would "showcase the Rose Bowl Game on television, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and on smartphones, tablets, online and on Xbox LIVE via WatchESPN. Additionally, ESPN has secured rights to distribute the Rose Bowl Game on ESPN 3D and around the world through ESPN International."
In a statement, ESPN President John Skipper said: "The Rose Bowl Game is one of sport's most meaningful and celebrated events. Extending our relationship long term with such a prestigious brand will play a significant role in the way fans continue to define ESPN—as the leading destination for college football all year long."
Libby Wright, Chair of the Rose Bowl Management Committee, added: "The Tournament of Roses is thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN to broadcast the Rose Bowl Game. Since 1989, the Rose Bowl Game has witnessed tremendous success with our partners at ESPN, which includes year-round, multi-platform promotion. ESPN is truly the leader in sports and its support of our brand and product over the years has strengthened our position in post-season college football. As we prepare for the 100th Rose Bowl Game in 2014, we look forward to new beginnings with a partner we consider family and continuing to showcase to the world the passion, strength, tradition and honor unique to our game."
Meanwhile, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, the man who has defended his league's affiliation with the bowl game more strongly than most anyone, added the following: "We're excited that the Rose Bowl Game will continue to be featured on ESPN through 2026. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have a tremendous history of exciting matchups on New Year's Day in Pasadena that dates back more than a century. We look forward to continuing the great tradition of featuring the Rose Bowl Game on ESPN, which has been a Big Ten partner since launching in 1979."
Finally, Larry Scott, the trend-setting Pac-12 commissioner who has utterly reinvented the league since taking over at a time when the league seemed downright vulnerable, said: "As we usher in the new era of a college football playoff, it is gratifying to know that the Rose Bowl will continue to be the premier Bowl game in college football. With the signing of this landmark long-term broadcast agreement with ESPN, the history, tradition and success of the Rose Bowl Game will be assured for many years to come."