For the first time, college football’s national champion will be crowned in Atlanta.
The College Football Playoff championship game will be played Jan. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, starting at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Atlanta wasn’t part of the rotation for the Bowl Championship Series title games, which determined the national champion before the advent of the playoff in 2014. And pre-BCS, the Peach Bowl didn’t rate high enough in the bowl pecking order to attract a game with national-title implications. But the CFP will bring its championship game to the new Falcons stadium after playing it the past three years in the Dallas Cowboys’, Arizona Cardinals’ and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stadiums.
A deep lineup of fan activities in Atlanta will lead to the game.
The lineup includes several three-day events Jan. 6-8: Playoff Fan Central, a 300,000-square foot interactive attraction inside the Georgia World Congress Center; AT&T Playoff Playlist Live, a free series of concerts in Centennial Olympic Park; and Championship Tailgate Plaza, a gathering place for outdoor activities on International Plaza near the stadium.
Announced performers for the concert series in the park include: Jason Derulo and Charlie Puth, along with special guest Lizzo, on Jan. 6; The Chainsmokers, along with additional performances by Bebe Rexha and Spencer Ludwig, on Jan. 7; and Darius Rucker in a pregame event Jan. 8, along with opening act Brett Young.
Additionally, during the game, a halftime show/concert is being planned in Centennial Olympic Park to entertain fans at a live watch party there and to be shown on ESPN. The musical guest hasn’t been announced. The participating schools’ marching bands will perform in the stadium at halftime.
Other events surrounding the national championship game will include an open-to-the-public media day, where an estimated 1,000 journalists will interview the players and coaches in Philips Arena on Jan. 6.
A 5K road race will be held Jan. 7 in downtown Atlanta, with the top overall male and female finishers winning two tickets to the game.
Samplings of food and beverage from the local area, as well as from the regions of major bowl games and the communities of the two participating teams, will be featured at a Taste of the Championship event at the Georgia Aquarium on Jan. 7.
College football’s championship game is the first of three mega-events scheduled at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during its first three years of operation. The Super Bowl will be played there in February 2019 and the men’s college basketball Final Four in April 2020.