BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The site of the Champions Bowl won't be decided until October, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Monday.
“Right now I think we're looking at early October,” Slive told CBSSports.com. “There's a lot to look at.”
Requests For Proposal (RFPs) went out to several cities during the summer to host the new postseason game that was created by the SEC and Big 12 in May. Dallas, Houston and Atlanta are considered the favorites to land the bowl which will match the champions of the SEC and Big 12 (when available). The TV rights alone for the Champions is expected to match the $80 million per year the Rose Bowl got from ESPN.
“It's not just us,” Slive said of the October timeline. “In terms of doing all the analysis obviously the Big 12 and us have to get our schedules together. I was thinking very late September but I'm thinking October.”
Before a playoff was even discussed formally, Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan said in January his bowl had a $40 million “war chest” to assure its spot in the postseason. At the time, Hoolahan stressed that any relationship that would guarantee him an SEC team would be a win for the city and his bowl.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is assumed to have the deepest pockets. One highly placed source shot down speculation that Houston already had made the highest bid. The “losers” in the Champions bidding are still expected to go hard in bidding to host national semifinals and championship games.
A second source reacting to last week's blog told CBSSports.com that the conferences committed to the Rose, Champions and Orange – the so-called “contract” bowls -- will keep all the revenue in years those bowls do not “pass through” the playoff (national semifinals).
Previously, those bowls contributed to the BCS pot. The Rose
Bowl, for example, paid a $6 million-$8 million rights fee to the BCS each year. The playoff revenue subcommittee is meeting later this month.
The Champions Bowl announcement formalized the power at the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision among the SEC, Big 12, Pac 12 and Big Ten. The Champions and Rose have yet to decide how many times during the 12-year cycle each will participate in the playoff. Officials have said that number will range from two to four times.