<
>

Irish would earn $13.75M for Orange

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A berth in the Discover Orange Bowl will earn Notre Dame $13.75 million -- or only half what an SEC or Big Ten team would receive -- beginning after the 2014 season, sources told ESPN.

The Orange Bowl has signed a 12-year contract, as part of college football's upcoming playoff from 2014-25, matching the ACC champion against the highest available ranked team from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.

ESPN will pay an average of $55 million annually for the bowl, sources said. If the ACC plays an SEC or Big Ten opponent, both conferences would each receive $27.5 million.

However, if Notre Dame is the ACC's Orange Bowl opponent, the Irish would only receive $13.75 million and the ACC $41.25 million.

Starting in 2014, the Orange Bowl will be one of three "contract" bowls along with the Allstate Sugar and Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio. ESPN will pay an average of $80 million annually for both the Sugar (SEC vs. Big 12) and Rose (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten) bowls, sources said.

Playing in the Sugar and Rose will earn the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten each $40 million annually.

In the Orange Bowl, the selection of the ACC representative's opponent will be based on securing the highest-ranked team in the final standings available from either the Big Ten, the SEC or Notre Dame. However, the Big Ten and SEC teams must appear at least three times each during the eight years the Orange Bowl doesn't host the national semifinals, while Notre Dame can appear in the game a maximum of only twice. There is no minimum number of requirements by Notre Dame.

The Orange Bowl will have the opportunity to take an SEC team that is not in the national semifinals or the Sugar Bowl, while the bowl could have a Big Ten team not in the semifinals or the Rose Bowl.

However, in the years the Rose and/or Sugar bowls host the national semifinals, the BCS commissioners have agreed that the Big Ten or SEC champion will not be placed in the Orange Bowl. Instead it will be placed in one of the three other access bowls, which will be part of the national semifinal rotation. That decision was made to improve the value of the access bowls, sources told ESPN.

If the ACC's highest-ranked opponent from Notre Dame, the SEC or Big Ten would create a regular-season rematch, the Orange Bowl has the flexibility to avoid that rematch by taking the next highest-ranked team from Notre Dame, the SEC or Big Ten. The team that was "skipped" over would be placed in an access bowl as long as it meets the minimum ranking requirement.

If Notre Dame doesn't qualify for the Orange Bowl, the national semifinals or one of the six major bowl games, the Irish will still receive an average of about $4 million annually during the 12-year contract, sources said.

Only three of those six major, or host, bowls that will hold the semifinals have been determined: Rose, Sugar and Orange. The other three are expected to be Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A, sources told ESPN.