Atlanta CFP Committee Eyes Momentum For '18 Title Game At Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The Atlanta Football Host Committee yesterday praised Tampa’s handling of the CFP title game and "expressed confidence" the $1.5B Mercedes-Benz Stadium and its "proximity to downtown attractions and hotels will build" on the CFP’s momentum when the site hosts next year's game, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. About 40 people affiliated with the Atlanta committee "were in Tampa at the CFP’s invitation for a behind-the-scenes look at how the championship game operates." The group "observed all aspects of the spectacle -- stadium set-up and operations, public safety, traffic planning, marketing, branding, signage, volunteer programs, hospitality programs, media operations and a myriad of ancillary activities." Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he saw a "highly organized event that managed traffic flow well, that got people in and out of the game efficiently" and had "terrific customer service.” Reed: "They also had very strong branding without it being overwhelming." CFP Exec Dir Bill Hancock said he expects the distinguishing features of the Atlanta game to be "the stadium, the activity downtown and what we call the 'walkability’ from the hotels to the stadium" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/11).
LET'S PLAY TWO: In Tampa, Danielson & Dawson in a front-page piece note Tampa officials were so encouraged with this year's game that they met yesterday afternoon to "start planning a bid to bring the game back" in '21. But there were a "few complaints, generally concerning traffic and crowds around Raymond James Stadium before and after the game." There were "two-hour lines of fans waiting to get into the stadium." Another issue was traffic "leaving the stadium after the game was gridlocked" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/11). Hancock in an email wrote that while the calendar for '21 is "'not in stone,' he expects to send requests for proposals to interested venues late this summer or early fall." Hancock said the CFP will "make the decision" in the spring of '18. Dallas Stadium Events Organizing Committee President Rick Baker said his group is "monitoring the situation and are excited about receiving the RFP and having the opportunity to put North Texas' best foot forward to again host college football's biggest game." In Dallas, Chuck Carlton notes Santa Clara and New Orleans will host the title game in '19 and '20 after Atlanta. North Texas "wouldn't be able to bid" for '22, with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl "hosting a national semifinal." A Cowboys bid for a Super Bowl "could also complicate matters" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/11).
RINSE, REPEAT: Hancock said that as much as possible, banners and other promotional material will be "reused for next year's playoff final in Atlanta." In Tampa, Christopher O'Donnell in a front-page piece notes the six "glistening silver foam football player statues that stood outside venues like Raymond James Stadium and the Florida Aquarium last weekend will hibernate for the next 12 months in a Dallas warehouse." That is also the "destination of other reusable signage such as street-lamp banners that advertise Playoff Fan Central but omit both the host city name and the playoff year" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/11).