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Volume 20 No. 41
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CFP to consolidate entertainment, fan events in Atlanta

Because of Atlanta’s condensed downtown footprint, the College Football Playoff is consolidating its entertainment and fan events for the 2018 championship.

The CFP’s ancillary events in its first three years included a fan fest, concert series and game-day tailgate across four days. In Atlanta, the CFP plans to eliminate the game-day tailgate, and its events will span three days instead of four. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is close enough to the fan events that there’s no need for a separate tailgate party on game day.

Playoff officials also will consider a single event agency to manage the concert series and fan fest, rather than using different agencies for different events, as they have in years past.

The CFP last month issued a request for proposals to event production companies asking for their ideas on fan events, staging, talent, sponsor management and other aspects of the championship weekend. These events are the primary platform for CFP sponsor exposure and activation.

CFP officials are looking to create a centralized “championship campus” in downtown Atlanta that would be the hub for fan activity in the days leading up to the championship game. The campus would include the Georgia World Congress Center in a 340,000-square-foot space for the fan fest and Centennial Olympic Park for the concerts, both of which are next to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The first three CFP championships were played in Dallas, Phoenix and Tampa, cities more spread out than Atlanta, so officials had multiple agencies running the fan events. Colonnade managed the fan festival, known as Playoff Fan Central, while the Solomon Group oversaw the three-day concert series called AT&T Playoff Playlist Live. On game day, the CFP’s focus moved to the stadium, where Etzel Agency ran the Championship Tailgate.

The most recent RFP, however, appears to be searching for one agency partner that can manage the fan fest and concert series within the championship campus, although the CFP didn’t rule out multiple agencies. The RFP referenced only the Atlanta championship and did not mention future championship games.

Laila Brock, director of operations and logistics in the CFP’s Dallas-based headquarters, is running point on the search.

Based on the RFP, responses were due Feb. 17 and finalists will be notified soon. The winning agency or agencies will be selected in the coming weeks.

The CFP’s ancillary events in the past have been three days, but the major difference is that the events for the 2018 championship will run Jan. 6-8, a Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the game on Monday night. At previous championship sites, the ancillary events ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the tailgate at the stadium on Monday.