We’re back: Atlanta to host another college football national championship

Atlanta will host another College Football Playoff national championship – this time the expanded version.

The CFP Board of Managers officially announced an expanded 12-team playoff starting with the 2024-25 season. The first national championship game will be played at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 20, 2025, following the 2024 season. Atlanta becomes the first city to repeat as a host destination for college football’s title game. Miami will host the title game the following year on Jan. 19, 2026, following the 2025 season.

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“This is a big win for everyone involved and we are excited for the Atlanta community,” Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso said in a statement. “As soon as we wrapped up the successful hosting of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, we were ready and eager to throw our name back into the hat. Atlanta is accustomed to hosting major sporting events, but this event is one that fits our community really well. We are grateful to the College Football Playoff for allowing us this opportunity for a second time and look forward to officially beginning the planning process with multiple partners in the community.”

Additionally for Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be the site for a quarterfinal game in 2024 and a semifinal game in 2025, it was announced Thursday.

For the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the four quarterfinal games and two semifinal games will be played in bowls on a rotating basis. The 2024 quarterfinals will take place in the Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the semifinals. The 2025 quarterfinals will take place in the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl will host the semifinals.

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The first round of the playoff in 2024 will take place the week ending Dec. 21, at either the home field of the higher-seeded team or at another site designated by the higher-seeded institution. (No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7, and No. 9 at No. 8.) The specific game dates, likely late in that week, will be announced later.

“We’re delighted to be moving forward,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said in a statement on the playoff expansion. “When the board expanded the playoff beginning in 2026 and asked the CFP Management Committee to examine the feasibility of starting the new format earlier, the Management Committee went right to work. More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes. We appreciate the leaders of the six bowl games and the two future national championship game host cities for their cooperation. Everyone realized that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen.” The CFP announced the expansion to a 12-team playoff, completing an 18-month process that was fraught with delays and disagreements.

The announcement comes a day after the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, which was the last hurdle CFP officials needed cleared to triple the size of what is now a four-team format.

Expansion is expected to produce about $450 million in additional gross revenue for the conferences and schools that participate.

Atlanta hosted the memorable national championship game following the 2017 season on Jan. 18, 2018. Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23, coming back from a 13-0 halftime deficit to win the first CFP national championship decided in overtime.

“Bringing the game back to Atlanta was a simple decision when we looked at everything,” Hancock said in a statement. “One of our greatest title games took place in Atlanta in 2018, and the city could not have been a better host. A state-of-the-art stadium, a walkable downtown with venues to host all the activities surrounding national championship weekend and great people made Atlanta an obvious choice to be the first city to host a second title game.”