Press Release

Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum Team Up with the College Football Playoff for ‘CMT’s Ultimate Kickoff Party’

IRVING, Texas – The College Football Playoff (CFP) announced today that CMT to host a special live concert from Playoff Fan Central, the official game-week destination for family fun and entertainment during the weekend of the national championship.

The “CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship” will premiere on CMT Friday, January 9, at 8 p.m. CT and will feature country superstars Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Big & Rich and Brett Eldredge. More artists will soon be added to the star-studded performance lineup.

Patrons of Playoff Fan Central will have first-come, first-serve access to the concert which will be held in Hall B of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

From his first No. 1 smash “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to his latest release Drinks After Work, Toby Keith has been one of the most consistent self-directed hit makers of his era. From one of his previous collections, Clancy’s Tavern, the lead single, “Made In America,” topped the charts as one of the fastest rising songs in a long line of chart burners from Keith’s pen. The second hit, “Red Solo Cup,” has become the most remarkable and commercially successful country single in recent memory with a viral video with more than 30 million views while having topped the top downloaded country songs charts. At the core of Toby’s unparalleled success is his songwriting, which has powered an astounding succession of hit songs to the tune of more than 85 million BMI performances on commercial radio stations worldwide. He has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International with its Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction, is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year and was named the American Country Awards’ Artist of the Decade. His albums have sold more than 38 million copies, ranking him among the top-selling all-genre artists on Billboard‘s Top 200 Artists of the Decade. Keith is also Billboard‘s No. 1 Country Artist of the Decade and No. 1 Country Songwriter of the Decade. His tours, including 2014′s Shut Up And Hold On Tour, long sponsored by Ford Trucks, have drawn more than one million fans each year for the last decade. His roster of I Love This Bar And Grill restaurants continues to grow, and his signature spirit Wild Shot has become the No. 1 premium mezcal in the U.S. These, among other endeavors, have earned Keith annual recognition from Forbes as one of the very top-earning entertainer/musicians in the world. But Toby’s most rewarding experiences, as exhibited in his continual devotion to them, come from giving back. Whether it’s helping sick children and their families in his native Oklahoma through the Toby Keith Foundation and their cost-free home, the Ok Kids Korral, or supporting US Troops including USO Tours throughout the world, Keith has never lost touch with the most important things in life.

Seven-time GRAMMY winning group Lady Antebellum recently released their fifth studio album, 747. The 11-song disc has already spawned the Platinum certified multi-week chart-topping smash hit “Bartender,” and its new single “Freestyle” is quickly climbing the charts. The new album follows over 11 million albums sold worldwide, nine trips to No. 1 on the country radio charts, six Platinum singles and “Vocal Group of the Year” honors from both the CMA and ACM’s three years in a row. Lady A just wrapped their headlining TAKE ME DOWNTOWN TOUR, which hit 80 cities in Canada and the US over the course of the year and delighted both fans and critics with the Dallas Morning News declaring “Lady Antebellum shows off its warranted leap to superstardom.” For more information and a full list of appearances visit www.ladyantebellum.com.

Big & Rich is comprised of Big Kenny and The Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich. The multi-platinum hit duo have garnered multiple GRAMMY, ACM, CMA and CMT Music Award nominations and were nominated as the 2014 ACM Vocal Duo of the Year. Their current single “Look At You” which is racing up the charts is from their newly released studio album, Gravity. The country superstars’ first studio album, Horse of a Different Color, includes their hit infectious single, “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).” Other hits include, “Comin to Your City,” “8th of November” and their No. 1 hit “Lost in this Moment.” “Comin to Your City” is nearing a decade as the theme song for ESPN’s College GameDay show.

CMA New Artist of the Year Brett Eldredge has always been drawn to singers, a fact that should come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard the Illinois native’s soulful, distinctive baritone.  With a Country Music Association Award, Academy of Country Music Awards’ nominations, and back-to-back #1 singles with “Don’t Ya” and “Beat of the Music”, Eldredge is finally getting the chance to share a story of his own. His debut album, Bring You Back, has garnered rave reviews from critics and fans alike with People Magazine recently citing him as the only country artist in their  “Ones To Watch,” issue. His current single, “Mean To Me,” is quickly climbing the charts. He’s co-writer on 10 of the albums 12 songs, including “Don’t Ya,” “”Beat Of The Music,” and “Mean To Me.” His writing chops are also gaining recognition with the hit TV show “Nashville” using the Eldredge-penned song “Adios Old Friend”; country star Trace Adkins cut his song “Watch the World End” (feat. Colbie Caillat); and the Country Music Association featured him in their esteemed songwriters series in New York City.  Eldridge opened 19 dates on Taylor Swift’s The RED Tour and he is now on tour with CMA Awards winner Little Big Town.

For more information on the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend and Playoff Fan Central, please visitwww.collegefootballplayoff.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter about the @CMT #CMTkickoffparty featuring @TobyKeithMusic @ladyantebellum @bigandrich and@bretteldredge  using the official hashtag #CFBPlayoff.

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About the College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff will begin with the 2014-15 season.  The semifinals will match the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 will face No. 3 in semifinal games that will rotate annually among the Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.  The first semifinals will be January 1, 2015, at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The first national championship game will be January 12, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

About CMT
CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT, CMT.com and CMT Radio offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and are the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT App, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.