Weekend Plans With CFP COO Andrea Williams
The end of the college football bowl season is fast approaching with the CFP National Championship game between Clemson and LSU on Monday, and CFP COO ANDREA WILLIAMS has been in New Orleans since last Sunday preparing for the event. Williams plays a key role in making sure everything that goes into a game of this magnitude runs effectively and efficiently, making the final staff dinner on Tuesday night to celebrate a successful 10 days of work a welcome respite. Williams recently caught up with THE DAILY to share what her responsibilities are in the lead-up to the title game.
GETTING THINGS STARTED: We start with early morning staff meetings at 7:00am. We'll also have some debrief meetings as well, and on Friday in particular, we'll have one regarding our Championship Campus, where a number of our free events are happening. It will include discussions on AT&T Playoff Playlist Live, which is our free concert series, Playoff Fan Central, which is the fan fest at the Convention Center, and the Championship Tailgate Plaza, which is an outdoor activation location for our fans located in the heart of downtown New Orleans in the French Quarter. Following that, we're spending a lot of time at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. We'll have a pageantry meeting that covers pregame, halftime and postgame, and we'll also have a stadium operations meeting, an architectural meeting and an ESPN meeting in the afternoon. Beyond that, we will be preparing for meetings on Saturday with our various future host committees. Friday night, we will have an invite-only, private event at a speakeasy.
PLUGGING AWAY: Saturday is when our events start to open to the public, so we're making sure everything is good to go. In the morning, we'll have our media day for both teams at the Xavier Convocation Center. Clemson will be first up at 8:30, followed by LSU at 10:00. We'll then have our future host seminar in which we'll go through a full deck of information on what is expected in the hosting role. We'll have anywhere from 80-100 people who will attend, representing all the future hosts through '24. Immediately after that, we'll bring a select group over to the stadium for a tour so that individuals who would be working in events and facilities for those future sites will have the opportunity to see the layout of the venue. What's really great about this year is that college football is hosting a 150th reception Saturday night to celebrate 150 years of the sport. ESPN in the lead-up to the end of the season has recognized players and games and historic moments in college football, so we'll have individuals across all facets of the sport attending that. Later that night, we have a private event called Party at the Playoff that is co-hosted by the CFP and ESPN.
FINAL RUN-THROUGH: After our morning meetings, we have a special event called the Extra Yard for Teachers 5K run that will weave its way through downtown New Orleans. We're expecting a couple thousand runners to participate. Following that, we have our head coaches' news conference at the media hotel. Sunday will be a heavy rehearsal day for us, so that will take up much of our afternoon and evening. We're discussing what we're doing on the field for pregame and halftime, as well as the postgame trophy ceremony. We'll also have various breakout meetings with administrators from both schools to run through everything and make sure we're good to go. That night, we're doing a special guest private dinner. But at the same time, there's an event that benefits the CFP Foundation called the Taste of the Championship, where 20 New Orleans chefs will provide their best cuisine for about 1,500 or more guests.
GAME DAY READY: In the morning, we'll start to staff our CFP control group at our office, which consists of decision-makers as it relates to anything media, game and team operations, security and traffic. I'll head over to the stadium, where the majority of our staff will already be, to walk the venue. That includes the event level, the field and the perimeter to just get a feel of what's happening. It's mostly taking a final look at our execution. Sometime in the late afternoon, I'll report to our CFP control and that's where a number of us will stay until the very end of the game.
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