New Orleans Successfully Hosts College Football Playoff National Championship
NEW ORLEANS (January 20, 2020) – The city of New Orleans hosted the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship in early January and once again, the city rose to the occasion, hosting an event that surpassed all expectations as LSU rolled to victory over Clemson.
“New Orleans is a wonderful site for an event like the CFP championship,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff (CFP). “The hospitality, the proximity of the stadium to the hotels, the history….New Orleans has everything. And the folks from the Sugar Bowl, the City of New Orleans, the Superdome, the Saints and the Sports Foundation were all terrific. Bravo, New Orleans!”
LSU becomes the 29th college football national champion hosted by the city – the previous 28 were hosted by the Sugar Bowl or the Allstate BCS National Championship. The Sugar Bowl Committee was once again prominently involved with the latest championship, the first for New Orleans under the direction of the CFP, as it provided the majority of the financial backing as well as significant manpower and oversight.
Most college football fans, coaches, players and personnel who have experienced the Allstate Sugar Bowl and most would pick the Crescent City for a national championship over any other place.
The reasons are many, including the food, the city itself, the Mardi Gras feel that is pervasive in almost every big event that finds its way to New Orleans. The Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee makes sure every year to accentuate the distinct New Orleans experience for the participants and the universities’ fans.
The Sugar Bowl spearheaded the bid effort for the 2020 game with support from the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation; ASM Global, the management company of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome; the New Orleans Saints; the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; and the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation; as well as multiple government agencies on the state and local level.
The Sugar Bowl, birthed on January 1, 1935, hosted four Bowl Championship Series National Championship games (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) as well as three other games which featured the No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams in the Associated Press poll (1979, 1983, 1993).
In addition to that, the Bowl has welcomed 21 other national champion teams – teams that either captured the title with a victory in the Sugar Bowl; had already been declared the national champion before the bowl, which happened regularly in the early years of college football; or earned the national title after winning a College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Ohio State and Alabama, following the 2014 and 2017 seasons, respectively).
But much has changed in this day and age in bidding for not only the CFP National Championship but other title events, such as the Super Bowl and Final Four.
No longer can cities get by on reputation alone. Serious financial backing along with first-rate facilities are arguably the two most important boxes to check off if a city is to be seriously considered to host one of these championship competitions.
“We’re pleased to again have the opportunity to crown college football’s national champion in New Orleans,” said Jeff Hundley, the Sugar Bowl’s Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Director for the New Orleans Host Committee for the 2020 CFP National Championship prior to the game. “This is good news for the city and state as the National Championship and its many surrounding events will produce a significant boost for the area economy and provide another strong platform for showcasing New Orleans and Louisiana to thousands of visitors and millions of television viewers.
“No question, New Orleans is built for these major events and we’ve held more than our fair share so we know how to do this. But it’s very much become a financial and facilities situation. And it’s significant money.”
The price to successfully bid on the CFP National Championship is speculated to be anywhere from $12-18 million and for this year’s event, the Sugar Bowl provided the majority of those funds. While some funding will come from the state of Louisiana and from private sources, the lion’s share of the financing was a gift to the area courtesy of the Sugar Bowl Committee.
The championship was also a financial boon for New Orleans and the state. While final economic numbers are not yet available, the impact is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. While the region receives significant benefit in terms of economic impact and direct sales taxes, the revenue from the game itself (ticket sales, television, major sponsors) returns to the playoff organization – and not to the hosts.
This certainly isn’t the first time the Sugar Bowl has provided financial backing for championship events. As a member of the BCS, the Sugar Bowl was responsible for making sure it was financially viable. And in 2012, the Sugar Bowl financially backed the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans then the 2013 Women’s Final Four in the Crescent City.
Though considerable financial backing was vital to bringing the CFP National Championship to New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl Committee was able to ensure that the city that so many love played host to the game.
“What’s been proven is that the college football national championship game is a great event and it’s only going to get bigger and better,” Hundley said, “and the competition for the game is only going to increase as we move into the future. We’re hopeful that in some form or fashion that New Orleans can stay competitive in the process. It’s going to require not just money but facility upgrades, infrastructure in the city. All of those will be important pieces to the puzzle as we look ahead.”