Press Release

A Championship Week

The first College Football Playoff National Championship will feature a great matchup on the field – and fan events that offer something for everyone
By Jaime Aron

From a bigger, better fan fest to a foodie’s delight, from a fun run to a slew of A-list concerts, the first-ever College Football Playoff championship weekend is filled with things to do and see.

“The days are gone when an event is just at the stadium on game day,” said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. “People are going to love it.”

Activities begin Thursday night, January 8, and run all the way to the coin toss.

“Big events are fun. Big events that are the first ever are even more fun,” said Tommy Bain, who led the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association for more than two decades before becoming the inaugural chairman of the group overseeing the local organizing committee for this game, the Stadium Events Organizing Committee.

Everyone involved in planning this weekend knew they were part of something special. They weren’t just creating one weekend’s worth of events, they were building a template for future title games. They embraced that challenge, and aimed to set the bar high. They also wanted to live up to the adage that everything is bigger in Texas.

“We know how much the state of Texas loves college football, and this is going to be the pre-eminent celebration of college football,” said Michael Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of the CFP. “That’s what we are shooting for.”

So get out your planner, and start plotting what you’ll be doing leading up to kickoff:

National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame Dinner

  • Thursday, Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m. reception/7 p.m. dinner
  • Honoree: Dr. Kenneth Cooper
  • Omni Dallas Hotel (Dallas)

The keepers of the game’s history kick off the weekend with a dinner at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Proceeds from the event will help former college football players continue their education at a post-graduate level. On Friday, the NFF will announce its 2015 Hall of Fame class; honorees will be celebrated on the field during the pregame festivities on game day. For ticket information emailjenny@faysawers.com.

Playoff Fan Central

  • Friday, January 9, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 10, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 11, Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (Dallas)

This is the hub of activity – a college football theme park spread over 500,000 square feet at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. Highlights include interactive experiences, sponsor booths, meet-and-greets with current and former players. There’s even a regulation 100-yard football field that will be the site of clinics, official team pep rallies and more. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for youths, seniors and members of the military. For tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com/fancentral.

CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football National Championship

  • Friday, January 9, 8 p.m.
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (Dallas)

The slew of weekend concerts gets cranked up at Playoff Fan Central, with CMT hosting a 90-minute live television broadcast event. The lineup includes Toby KeithLady AntebellumBig & RichBrett EldredgeJake OwenMaddie & Tae and Thomas Rhett. A chance to be a part of the studio audience is free with a ticket to Fan Central. Wristbands for the show will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. For tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com/fancentral.

Media Day

  • Saturday, January 10, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (Dallas)

Teams will take turns mixing and mingling with national media on the 100-yard field inside Playoff Fan Central, each spending an hour with reporters. Bleacher seats are available for 4,500 fans to watch and listen. For tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com/fancentral.

Extra Yard for Teachers 5k

  • Saturday, January 10, 8:30 a.m. start
  • The Cotton Bowl/Fair Park (Dallas)

This run and walk at Fair Park comes with a symbolic finish: the end zone of the Cotton Bowl stadium, site of the last national championship decided in North Texas, back on Jan. 2, 1978. The first male and female to break the tape will receive a pair of tickets to the game on Monday night and all registrants are eligible to win two tickets to the game. Following the race, the Cotton Bowl will turn into a tailgate-like atmosphere with live music and refreshments. Adults 18 and up may register for $40 through January 9, and $45 on race day. Student registration through race day is $20. The kid’s 100-yard dash for ages 12 and under $20 through race day. Visitwww.extrayard5k.com for more info.  Proceeds from the race benefit the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative.

AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!

  • Saturday, January 10, 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 11, 6 p.m.
  • American Airlines Center (Dallas)

The premier concert series of the weekend includes Lenny Kravitz as the headliner on Saturday night, and Sting on Sunday night. Additional acts include Keri Hilson and Vintage Trouble on Saturday, and Echosmith on Sunday. Bands, cheerleaders and mascots from the national championship teams also will appear in these events at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Single-day passes are $41 for lower level seats and $30 for upper level tickets. Two-day passes are available for lower level tickets ($60) and uppers ($46). Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com/attplayoffplaylist.

Northwestern Mutual Taste of the Championship

  • Sunday, January 11, 6 p.m.
  • Irving Convention Center (Irving)

A highlight of every Super Bowl weekend is the Taste of the NFL, a competition that brings out the best chefs while raising money for local food banks. The college version is being overseen by the same duo that created and organized the pro version. They’ve invited 18 chefs from North Texas and from other cities in the college football playoff and national championship rotation to whip up their favorite dishes – and attendees at the Irving Convention Center will get to taste it all, as will star guests such as Tony DorsettRandy WhiteTim Brown, Rocket Ismail and more. Dallas-area chefs participating in the event include Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House), Omar Flores (Casa Rubia), Scott Gottlich (Bijoux), David Holben (Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse), TJ Lengnick (Shinsei), and Jim Severson (Sevy’s).  In addition, visiting chefs include, Kevin Rathbun (Rathbun-Atlanta, GA), Beau MacMillan (Elements-Scottsdale, AZ), Allen Susser (Chef Allen’s Café-Hollywood, FL), Chris Lusk (Restaurant R’evolution-New Orleans, LA). General admission is $300. VIP tickets, which include early entry, are $400.  Proceeds benefit the College Football Playoff Foundation and the North Texas Food Bank. For tickets go to tinyurl.com/ChampionshipTaste.

Championship Tailgate

  • Monday, January 12, noon to 6 p.m.
  • AT&T Stadium (Arlington)

A staple of any college football game is the pregame tailgate. This one will be quite the blowout, featuring a zip line, interactive games, sponsor giveaways and a chance to peek in on the ESPN broadcast set. Oh, one more thing: the Zac Brown Band will perform. This event is free, providing you have a ticket to the game, giving everyone even more reason to beat traffic and arrive early to soak up this memorable event. The setup around AT&T Stadium is ideal, too, as each team’s fan base will be anchored at one of the plazas on each end of the football-shaped building. Once everyone moves inside the stadium, the final buildup to kickoff includes a few more thrills, such as Lady Antebellum performing the national anthem, Aloe Blacc singing “America the Beautiful” and a presentation of the nation’s colors from the Joint-Service Color Guard from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

Visit collegefootballplayoff.com for hotel reservations and comprehensive information on all the festivities.  Don’t miss your chance to witness history and take part in the ultimate celebration of college football at the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.