Tampa Leaves Lasting Impression After CFP Championship

Tampa Impresses On National Stage For CFP Championship

If the selection committee at the CFP had any concerns over the bid presented by Rob Higgins and the Tampa Bay Sports Committee, it wasn’t voiced in the months leading up to college’s big game.

When it comes to an event like the CFP Championship, it’s essentially akin to having a Super Bowl. The event takes over the whole region and fans from all over the country flock to see not only a football game but a city that is showcasing itself for tourism.

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That’s why the CFP has become so critical to cities and regions and why bids have to be unique—the selection committee can’t have the same events at the same place. Way back in the day, when Higgins and his crew made their bid for the game, they knew this and they knew how important this game would be for the region. It wasn’t just hosting a sporting event, it was about showcasing Tampa for a lot of opportunities.

Tampa may have passed the audition as everyone from Higgins to Bill Hancock, who is in charge of the CFP, had nothing bad to say about the city. If anything, Tampa exceeded expectations and one thing that helped, and was the jewel of the crown was downtown’s Riverwalk.

“Each event enjoyed record attendance,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. “The uniqueness of Tampa is that all of these events were connected and highlighted by Tampa’s Rverwalk.”

Buckhorn also went on to talk about how this was a chance to showcase Tampa Bay. As it wasn’t the thousands who came for the game who got to see the city on center stage—it was everyone around the country as well.

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Photo: OCTAVIO JONES | Times

“This was an unprecedented opportunity for Tampa to be on the world stage,” Buckhorn continued. “I can say with confidence that this was an unqualified success. I want to be very clear that we want to host another CFP championship game.”

Buckhorn and Higgins’ work isn’t done. The mayor also announced that meetings are underway to develop their next bid to host the Championship game. The only problem is they may have trouble topping this one. But Higgins and his crew will surely find a way.

Which isn’t a surprise as many of those visitors that Tampa hosted seemed to enjoy the city. Some of those visitors spoke publicly about it including the next host city Atlanta’s mayor—Kasim Reed.

“I just want to say that the city of Tampa could have not been a more gracious host,” Reed said. “The city of Tampa could have not done a better job of setting the bar for the game in 2018.”

But the real question is whether or not that bar setting will get Tampa the Championship game back at the earliest chance possible. Either way, the committee can’t ignore how well Tampa put on a good show.

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Thomas Fernandez is the managing editor for Sports Talk Florida and News Talk Florida. He started his career in media by covering the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After covering the NHL for two years, he hopped on board the news cycle and has been covering both sports and news for the last year. He has covered major sporting events as well as politics which affects the Florida audience. Thomas is a Tampa native and graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor of arts in Public Relations.