SBD/December 17, 2013/Colleges

College Football Playoff Chooses Glendale, Tampa As Sites For '16, '17 Title Games

The College Football Playoff yesterday announced that Univ. of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale "was chosen over three other venues" for the '16 title game and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa was "selected over five other venues" for '17, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. Glendale beat out Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa, while the Tampa beat out S.F./Santa Clara (Levi's Stadium), Jacksonville (EverBank Field), Minneapolis (Vikings Stadium), San Antonio (Alamodome) and Miami (Sun Life Stadium). Tampa will become "the first city that does not hold one of the College Football Playoff's six major bowls to host a national title game" (ESPN.com, 12/16).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL LOCATIONS
SEASON
SEMIFINAL
SEMIFINAL
'14-15
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
'15-16
Orange Bowl
Cotton Bowl
'16-17
Fiesta Bowl
Chick-Fil-A Bowl
'17-18
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
'18-19
Orange Bowl
Cotton Bowl
'19-20
Fiesta Bowl
Chick-Fil-A Bowl
'20-21
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
'21-22
Orange Bowl
Cotton Bowl
'22-23
Fiesta Bowl
Chick-Fil-A Bowl
'23-24
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
'24-25
Orange Bowl
Cotton Bowl
'25-26
Fiesta Bowl
Chick-Fil-A Bowl
     

WHY TAMPA?
CFP Exec Dir Bill Hancock said, "We could have gone anywhere." But he added that ultimately, Tampa's facilities, community leadership and the proposals submitted "were significantly better than the others." In Tampa, English & Jamison in a front-page piece note for Tampa Bay Sports Commission Exec Dir Rob Higgins, the selection "was the culmination of a project that spanned several years." Higgins said that his organization's winning bid "was the result of 'a deeper dive' into logistical details than that featured in the previous, unsuccessful bid to host the championship" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/17). Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel writes, "The SuperBowlification of the College Football Playoff is here, now that the Metroplex and Tampa Bay ... have secured two of the first three championship games." That is "not a bad thing," as it "stands to reason that the commissioners will take the championship game to domes in the snow belt, like Indianapolis or Detroit, to name two in the Big Ten footprint." It is "healthy for the game to move it around, and if it comes off looking like a mini-Super Bowl, so what?" (ESPN.com, 12/17).

NOT MAKING THE CUT: In Miami, Susan Miller Degnan reports Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms was "disappointed, but seemingly not deterred" after losing out on a bid to host the '17 game. He said that the committee "would continue to bid on future title games." Hancock said of why Sun Life Stadium was not selected, "Other cities in this bidding process offered a little more concise footprint for the event. ... The hotel rates in South Florida were higher than those in the cities that were selected." He stressed Sun Life Stadium "was not a drawback" to the bid. Hancock: "This stadium served us well. We love the stadium. This was not a stadium issue" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/17). Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, Garry Smits in a front-page piece writes Jacksonville "missed out on a huge football event and an old refrain was used as the reason," which is the proximity and amount of hotel rooms. Hancock: "Jacksonville has a terrific stadium with a lot of seats but they don’t have more hotel rooms within a closer radius to the stadium as the other cities. That was probably the single most important issue as we evaluated Jacksonville." Gator Bowl Sports President & CEO Rick Catlett: "We need more hotel rooms, an entertainment center and a convention center downtown to compete for these events. Tourism and conventioneers are the keys" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/17). Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said that if New Orleans wants to "lure future CFP championships, it will need more financial help, primarily from the state." He added, "This new era of college football is highly competitive with many cities and states having access to significant sources of public and private funding to back their efforts. While New Orleans is always a favorite destination for fans around the country, it has become obvious that additional resources will be necessary if we are to successfully compete for this event." In New Orleans, Trey Iles notes because the city will host a semifinal in '18, the next available year to bid for the championship would be in '19, which "would be seven years" from the last time New Orleans hosted a college football championship game (NOLA.com, 12/16).

GOING WELL FOR GLENDALE: In Phoenix, Craig Harris in a front-page piece notes the Fiesta Bowl "was rocked by a campaign-finance and spending scandal that came to a head in March 2011, when an internal report documented improprieties that eventually resulted in prosecutions and criminal convictions." Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir Robert Shelton, who took over the position "in the wake of the controversy, on Monday thanked college football for sticking with the bowl through its crisis." Yesterday's announcement "signals the Fiesta’s rebound from the campaign-finance and spending scandal" that cost former CEO John Junker his job and "imperiled the bowl’s status as one of the nation’s top contests." Meanwhile, NFL Cardinals President Michael Bidwill noted that Univ. of Phoenix Stadium also will host Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/17). Also in Phoenix, Bob Young writes under the header, "Fiesta Bowl's Robert Shelton Was Right Scientist For The Job." There was "serious doubt about whether the Fiesta Bowl would be included in future championship discussions after the scandal" in '11. But under Shelton's leadership, the Fiesta Bowl "managed to change the way it goes about its business, and with complete transparency" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/17).
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