Preparations underway for Tampa’s first College Football Championship

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Next Monday night, the Bay Area will be the center of the college football universe, as undefeated Alabama plays Clemson for Tampa’s first-ever College Football National Championship.

Preparations are well underway for the stampede of fans. img_4269At Curtis Hixon Park, what’s billed as the “largest stage ever” is being assembled.

Called “Playoff Playlist Live,” a Friday night concert kicks off four days of events.

Workers are busy putting up lights, testing out the big screen, and turning the park into a major concert venue.

“Even if you don’t have a game ticket, it is a true celebration of college football, there is something for everybody,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Sports Commission.

Planning for the College Football Championship game began more than three years ago when Tampa was selected.

“This is a monumental event for our community. To host the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship in the southeastern part of the United States, it’s huge,” said Higgins.

The Monday night game at Raymond James Stadium brings back rivals from last year’s contest in Phoenix, Arizona. The Clemson Tigers will play the Alabama Crimson Tide for the crown.

Fans are already excited.

“It’s only the second time we’ve been here in the last couple of years and it’s a beautiful place. We really like it and I can see why it would be a great destination for a football bowl game,” said Tip Macdonald.

The cavernous Tampa Convention Center is being transformed into Playoff Fan Central. Hundreds of yards of turf are being rolled out, so you can test out your pass, punt and kicking skills.

“It’s great for the community and it’s great for Tampa. And it’s nice to get national exposure and we’ve done a great job as a city, building the infrastructure,” said football fan, Eric Lenz.

Flo Rida plays Saturday, Usher on Sunday. The concerts are free.

For information about all the events, visit the Tampa Bay 2017 website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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