GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona sports and community leaders have submitted a bid to bring the 2016 College Football Championship Game to University of Phoenix Stadium.
Under terms set by the new College Football Playoff, communities compete for the national title game in a process similar to the Super Bowl or the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Arizona’s Host Committee includes representatives of the Fiesta Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals, local tourism bureaus, the hospitality industry and municipalities as well as the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which operates University of Phoenix Stadium.
“As college football moves into the playoff era, we are teaming up to offer a world-class experience and showcase the state of Arizona,” said Tom Sadler, chairman of the Arizona College Football Championship Game Host Committee and president of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. “We stake our bid on the flawless execution of seven national title games, a world-renowned stadium and a premium destination.”
College football’s title game is a proven economic driver. During one of the worst economies in Arizona history, the 2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game created $188 million in economic impact, an ASU W.P. Carey School study found. Four years earlier, the 2007 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game generated $171.5 million.
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 78,603 spectators to University of Phoenix Stadium, the largest attendance in its history, and remains the most-watched cable television program of all time, with an audience of more than 27 million viewers on ESPN.
Arizona created 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.
“I firmly believe Arizona has earned the right to host an eighth college football championship game,” said Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton, who has the same role on the Host Committee. “Our reputation for hosting is unmatched.”
The game is set for Jan. 11, 2016. A decision by the College Football Playoff Management Committee — comprised of 10 major conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletics director — is expected in November. One of the main requirements is a stadium with a capacity for at least 65,000 fans, along with a strong volunteer presence.
“The Fiesta Bowl’s volunteers are second to none,” Shelton said. “They will make this a memorable event for the participating teams and their fans.”