After 36 years of televising the Rose Bowl, NBC wanted to renegotiate the rights. Instead, the sponsors of the game turned to ABC.
The Pasadena, Calif., game, which pits the Big Ten and Pac-10 conference champions, will be televised by ABC for the next nine years. NBC, which began telecasting the Rose Bowl in 1952, had the rights for the next two years.Industry sources told The Associated Press that NBC was willing to drop the rights to the game because the Tournament of Roses Association would not reduce the networks payments for the 1989 and '90 contests. On Thursday, the association announced the switch to ABC. The sources said ABC will pay almost $100 million for the nine-game package and will assume the $23.7 million payments for the next two games.
ABC now has the Citrus, Rose and Sugar Bowls on New Year's Day - or Monday, Jan. 2 in 1989 because the new year begins on a Sunday. NBC is left with the Fiesta, which likely will move into the late-afternoon slot traditionally held by the Rose Bowl, and the Orange Bowl.