- Tim Tucker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
College football’s national championship game will be played in Atlanta this season. But after the Jan. 8 event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the game won’t return here for at least the following six seasons.
That is now known because College Football Playoff officials said Wednesday that their management committee has booked sites for the championship games through the 2023 season.
In addition to the previously announced sites of Santa Clara, Calif., and New Orleans for the championship games after the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the CFP awarded the event to Miami, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Houston for the 2020 through 2023 seasons, in that order.
Wednesday’s announcement of the four additional sites means no city will repeat as host of the championship game in the playoff’s first decade.
“We're delighted that we're able to complete our goal, which was ‘ten in ten’ -- - that is, the first ten CFP Championship Games will be played in ten different cities,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday. “We're just very happy that people in so many communities will be able to experience the game.”
Hancock said each of the cities named Wednesday offers “a first-class stadium (and) a great convention center and excellent hotels and tremendous community support, the people power.”
Indianapolis’ game in January 2022 will mark the first time the event is held outside the South or West. Los Angeles’ game in January 2023 will be at the $2.6 billion NFL stadium currently under construction there.
The four sites were named without a traditional bid process. Because of its “ten in ten” goal, the CFP negotiated with pre-determined cities rather than opening the four games to bids. Atlanta went through a competitive bid process in 2015 to land this season’s game.
“Once we decided ‘ten in ten,’ we identified these four cities as the cities where we thought we'd be best served to go,” Hancock said. “We are very sensitive to the time and expense involved in bidding. I have been through this many times, and I've seen what cities go through (in) these bidding processes, and we had been through actually two different ones for CFP. It just didn't make sense to subject cities to the cost of another bid.
“This is an emerging trend, I think, in our industry -- that is, identifying cities and negotiating directly with them. . . . Once we realized we knew where we wanted to go, it would have been inappropriate and probably unethical for us to have conducted a traditional bid process.”
The playoff began in the 2014 season, and the first three championship games were held in Arlington, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.; and Tampa, Fla.