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College Football Playoff Payouts

Revenue for the College Football Playoff is distributed annually according to a pre-determined formula, which is subject to adjustments each year. We update this page annually, so be sure and bookmark it. The current year’s distribution plan is below.

Two important things to know about bowl game payouts . . .

#1 Be aware that funds are distributed directly to conferences (with the exception of Independents), which each have their own rules for distribution to individual member institutions. For example, some conferences distribute evenly between all members while others grant bonuses to the participating team.

See here for an explanation of how College Football Playoff revenue flowed down to the four semifinal teams for the 2018-2019 season.

#2 These amounts do not include payouts from individual bowls that have direct contracts with conferences.

Bowl Payouts 2020

I’ve detailed the conference-by-conference payouts from the College Football Playoff for 2020-21 here.

2020-2021 Revenue Distribution Plan

According to the College Football Playoff, the following estimates of the CFP revenue distribution are based on preliminary calculations for the 2020-21 season and are only approximate projections of potential revenue distribution from each component:

  1. Each conference will receive $300,000 for each of its schools when the school’s football team meets the NCAA’s APR for participation in a post-season football game. Each independent institution will also receive $300,000 when its football team meets that standard.
  2. Each of the 10 conferences will also receive a base amount. For conferences that have contracts for their champions to participate in the Orange, Rose, or Sugar Bowl, the base combined with the full academic performance pool will be approximately $66 million for each conference. The five conferences that do not have contacts for their champions to participate in the Orange, Rose or Sugar Bowls will receive approximately $90 million in aggregate (full academic pool plus base), which the conferences will distribute as they choose. Notre Dame will receive a payment of $3.19 million if it meets the APR standard; the other three independents will share $1.56 million.
  3. A conference will receive $6 million for each team that is selected for the semifinal games. There will be no additional distribution to conferences whose teams qualify for the national championship game. A conference will receive $4 million for each team that plays in a non-playoff bowl under the arrangement.
  4. Each conference whose team participates in a playoff semifinal, Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl, or in the national championship game will receive $2.43 million to cover expenses for each game.
  5. Additionally, certain conferences in the Football Championship Subdivision will receive $2.7 million in aggregate.


2020-21 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2019-20 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2018-19 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2017-18 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2016-17 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2015-16 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

2014-15 College Football Playoff Payouts (actual payouts)

Bowl Championship Series vs. College Football Playoff Payouts


  • Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more