College Football Playoff Field Expands, Increasing Vegas’ Hosting Odds
The university presidents who oversee the College Football Playoff voted today to expand the model for determining a postseason national champion from four to 12 teams no later than the 2026 season. This increases Las Vegas’ odds of hosting the CFP National Championship beginning in 2027.
In their unanimous vote, the presidents approved the original 12-team proposal that called for the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large picks, as determined by a selection committee, to make the playoff. Further details will be decided by the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick beginning next week in Dallas.
“This is an historic and exciting day for college football,” said Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, the chairman of the board, told the Associated Press. “More teams, more participation and more excitement are good for our fans, alumni, and student-athletes.”
They’re also good for Las Vegas, whose 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium, opened in 2020, was already briefly considered for the 2025 CFP National Championship. That is, until a scheduling conflict with the lucrative Consumer Electronics Show (CES) quashed that possibility. (Every year in early January, CES attracts more than 170,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and they pump an estimated $300M into the Las Vegas economy.)
A 12-team playoff likely would push the championship game into late January, erasing the conflict with CES.
“I don’t want to handicap anyone’s chances, but if you look at the things we look for … Las Vegas has all that,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told the Las Vegas Review-Journal back in April. “We haven’t yet worked with a host committee in Las Vegas, so with us anyway, there’s no track record of them being able to fulfill their obligations. But there’s a strong track record, with other events, of them being very successful.”
Hancock told the R-J that the CFP evaluates a number of factors when considering future sites, including the quality of hotels, venues, air service and history hosting major events.
All Future Years Currently Spoken For
When the CFP would turn its focus to deciding future championship sites is not clear. However, Atlanta was announced on Aug. 16 as the 2025 host, filling the last remaining hole in the schedule. (The 2023 game will be held in Los Angeles, the 2024 game in Houston and the 2026 game in Miami.)
In January, Las Vegas was named as the site for Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association, that football game is expected to inject $500M into the Las Vegas economy, not including $70M in local and state tax revenue.
“I don’t want to make any predictions or over-promise, but we’ve certainly been impressed with what we’ve seen from Las Vegas,” Hancock told the R-J.
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