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SEC, Big 12 get 12-year deal from ESPN for Sugar

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NEW YORK (AP)

The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference have agreed to a 12-year deal with ESPN for the rights to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

A person familiar with the contract said it was worth about $80 million per year through 2026. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the agreement were not being made public and details were still pending.

The Big 12 and SEC recently picked the Sugar Bowl as the site of their new marquee game, starting in the 2014 season.

The champions of each conference will play in the game, unless those teams are selected for the four-team playoff that also starts that season. In that case, other highly ranked teams from the Big 12 and SEC will play in the game.

The Sugar Bowl will be one of six sites in the playoff rotation, along with the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and three more still to be announced. How often each bowl hosts a semifinal is still to be determined. ESPN's deal with the Sugar Bowl calls for it to broadcast the game even in years it hosts playoffs.

ESPN earlier this year reached a similar 12-year deal, for about the same price, with the Pac-12 and Big Ten for the rights to the Rose Bowl.

The person said a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the Orange Bowl will likely be announced soon.

ESPN.com has previously reported that the network will pay about $55 million per year for the rights to the Orange Bowl, which will match the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, or another highly ranked team from the league, against either a SEC team, a Big Ten team or Notre Dame. The ACC struck a deal with the Orange Bowl during the summer.

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.

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