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Arizona and Tampa Bay land hosting rights to college football showpiece

Arizona and Tampa Bay have been announced as the hosts for the second and third editions of American football’s new College Football National Championship Game.

The 2016 game will be in Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, while the following year’s event will be staged in Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium on January 9. In August, the management committee of the College Football Playoff organisation invited bids for the events with four cities entering offers for the 2016 game and six for the 2017 game. Two communities bid for both years.

Phoenix, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa submitted bids by September’s deadline to host the 2016 title game, while the Bay Area, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Miami and Tampa bid on the 2017 championship game. Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said: “The Championship Game will be a significant event on the American calendar – not only the sports calendar, but also the cultural calendar.

“The BCS championship has been the second most-watched annual sports event in the United States, trailing only the Super Bowl, and the playoff game will rise to a new level. Fans across the nation hope their teams will make it, and many set their travel schedules around it. It's a real feather in the cap of the community that earns the right to host it.”

The College Football Playoff will begin with the 2014-15 season and will feature the four top teams as selected by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, whose membership was announced in October. The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will host the first national semifinals on January 1, 2015. The winners of those two games will face off in the first National Championship Game of the playoff era at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 12, 2015.