IRVING, Texas -- Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff, announced today that Arizona was selected to host the 2016 College Football National Championship Game and Tampa Bay was selected to host the 2017 National Championship Game. The playoff's Management Committee chose the sites in a telephone conference call earlier today.
"The Championship Game will be a significant event on the American calendar -- not only the sports calendar, but also the cultural calendar," said Hancock. "The BCS championship has been the second most-watched annual sports event in the United States, trailing only the Super Bowl, and the playoff game will rise to a new level. Fans across the nation hope their teams will make it, and many set their travel schedules around it. It's a real feather in the cap of the community that earns the right to host it. So congratulations to these two fine cities and thanks to all the communities that submitted bids to participate."
"It was a difficult decision for the management committee, because there were many good options, but Arizona and Tampa Bay were selected because of their top-notch facilities and because of the thorough proposals their leaders submitted. We were impressed by all the bids and we know communities' interest will only increase in the coming years," said Hancock.
"Arizona has proven itself to be one of the greatest settings for premiere college football events, and has become a favored destination for fans from around the country. The folks in Arizona put together an exceptional bid that really won the day with the management committee. Likewise, Tampa Bay is a terrific destination with a beautiful stadium and a community that is committed to hosting big events in a gracious and thorough manner. We are very happy with the facilities, the creative proposal and the commitment of support from community leaders," said Hancock.
In August, the management committee invited interested communities to submit proposals to host the championship games for the second and third year of the playoff. In September, eight communities responded with formal bids. Four communities bid for the 2016 game and six communities bid for the 2017 game. Two communities bid for both years.
The 2016 game will be in Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday, January 11, 2016. The Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl will host the College Football Playoff semifinals that year. The 2017 game will be in Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium on Monday, January 9, 2017. The Chick-fil-A Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will host the semifinals that year.
The College Football Playoff will begin with the 2014-2015 season and will feature the four top teams as selected by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, whose membership was announced in October. The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will host the first national semifinals, which will pit No. 1 versus No. 4 and No. 2 versus No. 3 on January 1, 2015. The winners of those two games will face off in the first National Championship Game of the playoff era at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas January 12, 2015.