For years, Atlanta’s college football bowl game struggled to sell enough tickets to keep the NCAA from shutting it down. In 1978, for a Georgia Tech-Purdue matchup, the Tech coach’s wife led a ticket-sales drive. In 1983, for a Florida State-North Carolina game, the last-ditch strategy was to ask businesses to buy tickets — and give them away.
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The playoff: Beginning with the 2014 season, college football will crown its national champion with a four-team playoff. The semifinals will pit the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed and No. 2 vs. No. 3, with the winners meeting in the championship game. The teams will be chosen by a yet-to-be-named committee.
Atlanta’s role: The Chick-fil-A Bowl is one of six bowls (along with the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Cotton) chosen to host national semifinal games four times in 12 years. Semifinals will be played in Atlanta in the 2016, 2019, 2022 and 2025 seasons — the first in the Georgia Dome and the others in the new Falcons stadium. In the years that the bowl does not get a semifinal game, it will have a non-playoff matchup of teams ranked among the nation’s top 15 or so, with proximity to Atlanta a consideration in the assignment of teams.
Championship game sites: The first title game, the only one put up for bid so far, was awarded to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Atlanta plans to bid for a championship game in the future.
Return of the Peach: Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan said he expects the Atlanta bowl in 2014 to again be called the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Stokan said playoff officials told him the bowl must include more than a corporate sponsor in its name in order to be parallel with others in the semifinal rotation (i.e., the Allstate Sugar Bowl and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl). Chick-fil-A will negotiate with ESPN, which will sell naming rights to the playoff bowls as part of its deal to televise them.