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ACC, ESPN reach 12-year deal to carry Orange Bowl

MIAMI (AP) -- The Atlantic Coast Conference has agreed to a 12-year deal with ESPN for the rights to televise the Orange Bowl, with the conference champion facing either Notre Dame or a team from the Big Ten or SEC.

The deal announced Thursday begins with the 2014 season and runs through 2026. ESPN.com has previously reported that the network will play about $55 million per year for the game.

Under the new deal, the Orange Bowl will be played either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.

"The opportunity to partner with ESPN to showcase the game on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day provides us with a terrific way for fans to ring in the New Year in South Florida," ACC commissioner John Swofford said.

ESPN has similar 12-year deals for the rights to the Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC) and the Rose Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten). The champions of each conference will play unless those teams are selected for the four-team playoff that also starts in 2014. In that case, other highly ranked teams from the leagues will play in the game.

The Orange Bowl will be one of six sites in the playoff rotation, along with the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and three more still to be announced. How often each bowl hosts a semifinal is still to be determined. ESPN has the rights to the bowl games regardless of how the playoff format is determined.

ESPN also is working on a 12-year deal for the entire playoff package of 24 semifinals and 12 national championship games, along with the other three host bowls, that has been reported to be worth around $500 million per year.

Also Thursday, Bill Hancock was hired by the conference commissioners and university presidents to be the executive director of the playoff system that starts in 2014. Hancock has been executive director of the Bowl Championship Series the past three years. His career as an administrator in college sports spans more than three decades.

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