The Financial Impact of a Post-season Playoff in College Football

Open Access
West, Sara Colleen
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Stephen F Ross, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Shapiro, Honors Advisor
  • college football
  • playoff
  • Bowl Championship Series
  • BCS
  • regular season attendance
  • TV contract revenue
  • television contract
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was established in 1997 with the goal of matching up the top two teams in a championship game and eliminating all doubts about the “true national champion;” however, the BCS has done anything but dispel those doubts. Since its creation, the BCS has generated national debate regarding the benefits and disadvantages of the system. There has been increasing demand among conference commissioners, sports analysts, coaches, and scholars for a post-season playoff. With the BCS’ announcement of a new playoff beginning in 2014, it raises the question: what are the financial implications of a playoff in college football? I examine the effects of a playoff on regular season attendance and the value of post-season television contracts. Drawing appropriate inferences from NCAA Men’s Basketball data, I forecast the impact a playoff will have on college football. The results of the analysis imply that universities will increase revenue as a result of a playoff.