New Orleans’ bid near for College Football Playoff championship

The Allstate Sugar Bowl and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation are nearing completion on a proposal to bid on the 2016 and/or 2017 College Football Playoff championship games.

Paul Hoolahan, the Sugar Bowl’s chief executive officer, said representatives from the two organizations met Wednesday as part of their ongoing work toward submitting an RFP (request for proposal).

Hoolahan said the bid would likely be submitted within an LLC structure spearheaded by an executive committee of local sports-related entities.

“Everything is going according to plan,” Hoolahan said. “We expect to put a proposal in front of (the CFP) shortly.”

Hoolahan said a budget for New Orleans’ RFP would first have to be approved by the boards for the Sugar Bowl and GNOSF.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, who will fill the same role with the CFP, said he has received RFPs from 14 or 15 cities to date for the 2016 and 2017 championship games.

The deadline to submit RFPs is Sept. 27. Championship sites are expected to be selected by November.

The College Football Playoff begins after the 2014 season. A selection committee — which Hancock said he now believes will consist of 12-18 members — will pick four teams for the CFP semifinals.

The first CFP semifinals will be played Jan. 1, 2015, in the Sugar and Rose bowls. The inaugural CFP championship game will be Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Cotton Bowl and Saturday’s Cowboys Classic between LSU and TCU.

The CFP selection committee will also place eight teams in the four other bowls involved in the CFP semifinal rotation: the Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Fiesta and Orange.

While the Sugar Bowl is guaranteed to get semifinal games in 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024 as part of the 12-year CFP contract, the championship game will be awarded on a bid basis similar to the Super Bowl or the Final Four.

Criteria for championship game requires a stadium has at least 65,000 seats and a provision that a city can not host a CFP semifinal and final in the same year.

Hancock outlined other criteria in what he referred to as the “broad categories” of lodging, overall stadium quality, airport capacity and “the ability of a city to put on an event of this nature.

“Cities in the mix have demonstrated through the Final Four or the Super Bowl or other event that they have the human infrastructure to put on the” CFP championship game, Hancock said. “We’re happy with the cities that have responded so far.”

Hancock didn’t discuss names of the bid cities so far, but RFPs are expected from Glendale, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., Miami, San Antonio and Arlington once again in 2017.

Arlington and Miami will have semifinals in 2016 in the Orange and Cotton bowls, respectively, and could not bid. Same for Glendale, home of the Fiesta Bowl, in 2017.

Asked if being in the CFP semifinal rotation would help New Orleans’ chances at landing an upcoming championship game, Hoolahan replied: “I don’t see how it would hurt.

“There’s a level of confidence that we know what to do and that we will give them a great event.”

Hoolahan declined to say whether New Orleans would prefer to host in 2016 or 2017.

However in an interview earlier this month, Sugar Bowl Chief Operating Officer Jeff Hundley speculated that ideally New Orleans would like to have a CFP semifinal in 2015, the CFP championship in 2016, the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2017 and the Super Bowl in 2018.

Aside from the CFP semifinals, none of those events have been awarded yet.