“One thing I can tell you about history, it’s in the past,” said Florida State Quarterback, Jameis Winston. While Winston was simply answering a question on Friday from media related to previous title game performances by fellow Heisman winners, #TampaBay2017 certainly heeds his advice while starting to lay the groundwork to prepare for hosting the College Football National Championship in three years.
The College Football National Championship will look and feel very different from the BCS Championship Game. Think Super Bowl meets the Men’s Final Four, but with its own unique twists. However, as fellow sports and entertainment event managers can certainly attest, witnessing other events and learning the habits and preferences of their constituents is invaluable for preparing for your own hosting opportunities. From youth events to the pro’s, we’ve never attended an event that we didn’t learn something from and many of these ideas have been tweaked and implemented into our future event hosting plans (imitation is the best form of flattery, people). Please note: we’ve also seen some ideas that originated in Tampa Bay end up in other communities as well (and we’re flattered!).
Our bid to host the 2017 College Football National Championship was actually years in the making. When the playoff discussion began quite some time ago, we truly felt that if hosting the National Championship were opened up to non-BCS communities, we would have a legitimate shot to bring it home. While our bid was 13 binders long featuring over 7,200 pages (you read that right), we spent a good majority of our time focusing on a “runway to runway” experience for all involved (the student-athletes, fans, media, etc.). From the moment they touchdown (pun intended) at Tampa International Airport to the moment their plane takes off to return home, we’ve got to make sure each and every attendee’s expectations are met and exceeded with a first class experience that is second to none.
It’s with that laser focus, that #TampaBay2017 (first time we’ve ever referred to ourselves as a #hashtag, but hey, we’re “all in” on this whole social media thing) landed in California a few short hours ago, primed to take a ton of notes and pictures. Airport decor (pictured below), volunteers, hotel welcomes, transportation system, digital integration, ancillary fan events, are just a few of the items on the extensive agenda to check out.
We invite you to take one last look at a BCS Championship Game with us as we’ll plan to share a few more entries throughout the weekend. While the event that crowns College Football’s National Champion will be re-imagined by our good friends at the College Football Playoffs beginning with next year’s inaugural festivities in Dallas, there’s a good chance we’re going to pick up on some things this weekend that could make sense for 2017 in Tampa Bay (or at a very minimum serve as thought catalysts to continue to evolve our successful bid’s vision).
Thanks for reading and if you’re in Pasadena and see something you like related to the event, feel free to tweet me @RHiggins_TBSC or using #TampaBay2017. Together, we can crowdsource ideas to help make our hometown shine in less than 1100 days…#gamedayeveryday!