It is almost that time of year, as the first College Football Playoff games are a little more than a month away. With Selection Sunday set for December 2, now is a good time to look at the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship stadiums. The two semifinals will be storied bowls played in events familiar with the big stage, while the National Championship is set for a recent Super Bowl venue.
Semifinals—January 1, 2019
Orange Bowl—Hard Rock Stadium
Home to the Orange Bowl since December 1996 (save for 1999, when the Miami Orange Bowl stepped in to host because of a scheduling conflict), Hard Rock Stadium has had quite an evolution in its more than 30 years of existence. It first opened as Joe Robbie Stadium in 1987, designed as a multipurpose venue that would later be home to MLB’s Florida Marlins from 1993-2011. In recent years, however, it has received numerous renovations that significantly altered its design—a canopy was installed to cover much of the seating bowl—and modernized its amenities.
Hard Rock Stadium is the full-time home of the NFL’s Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes, along with hosting the Rose Bowl annually. It has also been used for a wide variety of non-football events of late, including soccer matches, concerts, and the Miami Open tennis tournament beginning next year.
Cotton Bowl—AT&T Stadium
The venerable venue with the same name as this annual bowl still stands, but the Cotton Bowl game has been played at the home of the Dallas Cowboys since 2010. Since its opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted a unique slate of major events, including the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl XLV in 2011, and the inaugural 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
AT&T Stadium also made a unique bit of history earlier this year, becoming the first NFL stadium to host the league’s draft.
National Championship—January 7 at Levi’s Stadium
The San Francisco 49ers arrived at this Santa Clara venue in 2014, giving them a long-awaited successor to Candlestick Park. Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and has been used for a variety of non-football events as well—including several soccer matches and an outdoor NHL Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.
While this marks the first time that Levi’s Stadium will be used for a National Championship, it has been the site of other college football events over the years. That includes the annual Pac 12 Conference Championship Game and Redbox Bowl (formerly Foster Farms Bowl) games.
Image courtesy San Francisco 49ers.
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