Football

College football championship game executives visit Charlotte

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015, file photo, Ohio State, right, and Oregon play during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game in Arlington, Texas. A four-person College Football Playoff management group visited Charlotte this week. The city hopes to host the national championship game in 2019 or 2020.
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015, file photo, Ohio State, right, and Oregon play during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game in Arlington, Texas. A four-person College Football Playoff management group visited Charlotte this week. The city hopes to host the national championship game in 2019 or 2020. AP

Charlotte, which hopes to host college football’s national championship game at Bank of America Stadium in either 2019 or 2020, received a visit from members of the College Football Playoff management group this week.

The committee’s group was executive director Bill Hancock, chief operating officer Michael Kelly, chief financial officer Reid Sigmon and Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA and a member of the CFB’s management committee.

“Broadly, we’re looking at the infrastructure of the city, the stadium, hotels and airport,” Hancock said. “But it is also helpful to get a handle on a city’s ability to stage a big event by trying the find the human part of it. And let’s just say we were very impressed with Charlotte.”

Will Webb, executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation said the group not only visited Bank of America Stadium on Monday and Tuesday, but other facilities in uptown Charlotte such as Time Warner Cable Arena, BB&T BallPark, the Charlotte Convention Center and the NC Music Factory.

Other cities bidding with Charlotte include Detroit (2019 only), Minneapolis (2020 only), Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio and Santa Clara, Calif.

The championship game, which was first held in January in Arlington, Texas, will be Phoenix in 2016 and Tampa, Fla., in ’17. Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Santa Clara are bidding for the 2018 game.

Hancock said a decision on where the future championship games will be in November.

Through the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Charlotte’s profile in major college football has been raised dramatically over the years. Bank of America Stadium is host to the ACC championship game and the Belk Bowl, which now features teams between the ACC and SEC. Regular-season games also will continue, with North Carolina and South Carolina playing Sept. 3 and West Virginia and Tennessee playing in 2018.

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