How the CFP picked Atlanta for another league football game

“Starting with beautiful venues, hotels and airline service, Atlanta has everything an event planner needs,” Hancock said. He said the “walkable” downtown is conducive to hosting events. But the biggest factor in bringing the title game back here, he suggested, was the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t thank (Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay) for their part in all of this,” Hancock said. “But for the stadium, and without their desire to bring an event like this to the city, it wouldn’t happen.”

To have the game here in 2018 required an Atlanta host committee budget of around $12.5 million, funded primarily by a portion of the city’s hotel-motel tax that is intended to attract major events. Atlanta Sports Council Chairman Dan Corso said in an interview with the AJC that the local cost will be higher for 2025: “in the range of $14 million to $15 million.”

These costs will again be funded by the hotel-motel tax and corporate partnerships, he said. In addition, the CFP will once again benefit from a sales tax exemption on tickets sold for the match.

The college football playoffs began in the 2014 season, and Atlanta will become the first city to host the championship game twice, a year before Miami hosts it the second time. Mercedes-Benz Stadium had been open for less than five months when it hosted the 2018 title game, in which Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime.

“It’s difficult to recruit and organize large-scale sporting events once, let alone multiple times,” Corso said. “I think it’s a great reflection of our community to be named the first city to repeat.”

ExploreThe scene of the 2018 CFP Championship game

According to Corso, Atlanta’s pursuit for a second CFP championship game began on January 9, 2018, the day after the event was first played here.

“We told Bill and all of their other staff, ‘We want him back,'” Corso said.

A decision on league game sites for January 2025 and January 2026 has been put on hold, Hancock said, as officials consider expanding the playoff field from four teams to possibly 12 as early as the 2024 season. After the playoff management committee decided in February not to expand the field until the 2026 season, serious discussions with Atlanta’s bid group began.

The group was led by the Sports Council and also included representatives from the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Georgia World Congress Center, and state and city governments. Documents were exchanged for several months and an agreement was reached.

The playoff decision not to expand until 2026 has proven to work in Atlanta’s favor in terms of hotel room availability and convention facilities, Corso said.

“The fact that the playoffs didn’t extend, which would have extended the season and the championship game later in January, played an advantage for us because we have a bunch of city-wide conventions from mid-January to the end of January. “, Corso said. “The first Monday in January went perfectly for us. The non-expansion worked to our advantage to finally be able to bring it back a second time.

This is the second major sporting event to commit to Atlanta this summer. In June, FIFA – the world’s football governing body – named Atlanta among 16 North American cities that will host matches at the 2026 World Cup. Atlanta is also looking to host the men’s college basketball Final Four in 2029 or 2031 and maybe the 2028 Super Bowl.

ExploreAtlanta will host part of the 2026 World Cup

“It’s going to be one hell of a ride, starting with this event, then the World Cup in 2026 and the others (eventually) to close out the decade,” Corso said.

Before coming here, the next two CFP championship games will be played in Los Angeles and Houston on January 9, 2023 and January 8, 2024, respectively. These venue selections were made in 2017. Once these two matches have been played, the first 10 title matches for the event will have taken place in 10 different cities.

“We knew we couldn’t go on (much longer) without going back somewhere, and Atlanta was an obvious choice of where to go back,” Hancock said. “They did a good job last time, and they only got better.”

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