The Washington Times - November 17, 2008, 04:09PM

Fox formally announced Monday that it would no longer be the home to college football’s Bowl Championship Series after 2009, acknowledging it was unable to match a strong bid by rival ESPN.

“FOX Sports has elected not to match an offer the BCS Group has received from ESPN to televise BCS games from 2011-2014, and plans to notify the organization by phone today,” the network said in a statment.


“Even with today’s vast economic uncertainties, FOX Sports made a very competitive bid to keep broadcasting BCS games free to every home in America, one that included a substantial rights fee increase, and certainly as much as any over-the-air network could responsibly risk.  Unfortunately, the University presidents and BCS commissioners were not satisfied and they’ve decided to take their jewel events to pay television.   We wish everyone well.”

Fox reportedly offered about $100 million annually, but ESPN had offered $125 million per year. ESPN was able to mount an aggressive bid because it gets revenue from not only advertising but cable rights fees.

A move to ESPN now means that college football’s top games will move to paid television for the first time, leaving about 16 million households shut out. Even the Rose Bowl, which had been shown on ABC as part of a separate rights deal, wil now also move to ESPN.