College football’s new playoff system will hold its national championship game in Glendale, Arizona, in 2016 and in Tampa, Florida, the following year.
Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium will stage the title game on Jan. 11, 2016, and the championship will be decided at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 9, 2017.
The first three title games under the new playoff system will be held in National Football League venues. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, will host the first national championship on Jan. 12, 2015.
“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,” College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said yesterday in a release.
The playoff system replaces the Bowl Championship Series starting next season. National semifinals will rotate among six bowl games, meaning there will be two playoff games and four other major bowls each season.
Glendale beat out bids from Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa. Home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix stadium hosted the Super Bowl after the 2007 season and the BCS national championship in 2011.
Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was chosen over the San Francisco Bay Area, Minneapolis, San Antonio, South Florida and Jacksonville.
“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,” Hancock said. “It’s a real feather in the cap of the community that earns the right to host it.”
Enigma Research Corp., which conducted an economic impact study for the University of Alabama’s 37-21 victory against the University of Texas in the 2010 championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, said the game generated $82.4 million for the local economy.
In October, the College Football Playoff announced a 13-member committee that will pick the four semifinalists. The committee includes former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning.
Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in November 2012 reached a 12-year agreement to carry all of the postseason games tied to the new system. The deal, which runs through 2026, is worth more than $7 billion, according to the Sports Business Journal.