Tampa to host College Football Playoff along with music festival

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For the first time ever, the College Football Playoff will be held in Tampa. Officials announced the decision Wednesday.

The best two teams in college football will play right here in our own beautiful backyard the weekend of January 6-8, 2017.

Eric Paslay, Flo Rida, Gavin Degraw, and Usher are scheduled to perform at the three-day outdoor music festival. Concerts will take place each night at Curtis Hixon Park.

“Really, the moment the conversation began that there could be a college football national championship, we started formulating our vision for our bid. And now, to see it come to life four or five years later is phenomenal. It’s hard to believe we’re 54 days out,” said Rob Higgin, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.

Tampa is no stranger to the big stage when it comes to football. The city has hosted four Super Bowls and an Outback Bowl.

“To be able to tell Tampa’s story to the world and to showcase our city and have an amazing game with two great teams, we love it. We absolutely love it,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

Close to 80,000 people are expected to come to Tampa for the big game. Event coordinators have designed a special app that they hope will blow up social media.

“Fans are going to be rewarded by going to different events, going to different locations, experiencing the River Walk and taking photos on it,” Higgin said. “We’re confident fans are going to have a wonderful experience in our hometown and we want them to be able to have the tools to broadcast that at a very high level.”

To pull a big event off like this, Tampa will have to pay. It’s an investment Mayor Buckhorn doesn’t mind. “In terms of the exposure that we get as a city, whatever we contribute in terms of labor, it’s well worth it,” he said.

It will be a few weeks before we know who will play here in Tampa, but Buckhorn said he has a good idea. “My Penn State team is going to be here. I know that. I will be on the 50-yard line. I might even suit up,” he said.

Regardless of the two teams that end up playing here, Buckhorn said this is a great opportunity for Tampa.

Find out more at www.collegefootballplayoff.com

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