SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. December 16, 2013.
The College Football Playoff on Monday selected Arizona to host the 2016 College Football National Championship Game, set for Jan. 11, 2016 at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium. It will be the state’s eighth national championship contest since 1987.
“This is a great day for Arizona,” said Robert Shelton, executive director of the Fiesta Bowl. “Our communities will unite to provide an unmatched experience for all.”
Arizona sports and community leaders teamed up on the proposal, which prevailed over bids by New Orleans, Tampa and Jacksonville. The Arizona Host Committee includes representatives of the Fiesta Bowl, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, the Arizona Cardinals, local tourism bureaus, the hospitality industry and municipalities.
“Arizona has proven itself to be one of the greatest settings for premiere college football events, and has become a favored destination for fans from around the country. The folks in Arizona put together an exceptional bid that really won the day with the management committee.” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff.
“We thank the College Football Playoff for choosing Arizona and recognizing the strong commitment of our public and private stakeholders,” said Tom Sadler, chairman of the Arizona Host Committee and President of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. “We are grateful for an opportunity to host the title game and set a new standard of excellence.”
Monday’s announcement confirmed Arizona’s status as a destination for elite sporting events and heralded the return of a key economic driver. The last four BCS national championship games played in Arizona – in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 – produced a combined economic impact of $646.2 million, according to studies by Arizona State University.
“Arizonans appreciate the immense value of the national championship game,” Shelton said.
The College Football Playoff kicks off after the 2014 regular season. Each year, two bowl sites will host semifinal games between teams seeded by a selection committee, with the winners advancing to the championship game. After the 2015 regular season, the winners of the Orange and Cotton Bowls will advance to Glendale.
“The College Football National Championship Game represents an evolutionary milestone in the history of college football,” Shelton said. “We have a vast volunteer base that stands ready to support this game. Arizona promises to serve as a progressive host and ensure that the event realizes its incredible potential.”
Arizona has successfully hosted seven college football title games – most recently in 2011, when Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. The contest drew a record 78,603 spectators to University of Phoenix Stadium and remains the most-watched cable television program of all time, with an audience of more than 27 million viewers on ESPN.
Arizona set the standard for the modern college football championship game with the 1987 “Duel in the Desert” between top-ranked Miami and No. 2 Penn State. With an audience of more than 52 million viewers, that contest is the most-watched college football game in history.
Here is a list of the seven national title games played in Arizona:
Date Site Result
Jan. 10, 2011 University of Phoenix Stadium No. 1 Auburn 22, No. 2 Oregon 19
Jan. 8, 2007 University of Phoenix Stadium No. 2 Florida 41, No. 1 Ohio State 14
Jan. 3, 2003 Sun Devil Stadium No. 2 Ohio State 31, No. 1 Miami 24 (2 OT)
Jan. 4, 1999 Sun Devil Stadium No. 1 Tennessee 23, No. 2 Florida State 16
Jan. 2, 1996 Sun Devil Stadium No. 1 Nebraska 62, No. 2 Florida 24
Jan. 2, 1989 Sun Devil Stadium No. 1 Notre Dame 34, No. 3 West Virginia 21
Jan. 2, 1987 Sun Devil Stadium No. 2 Penn State 14, No. 1 Miami 10