In the new College Football Playoff, New Orleans will no longer be guaranteed to host the national championship game every four years.
But it’s sure going to try.
CFP organizers announced Monday that New Orleans is among four cities that have bid for the 2016 game, along with Glendale, Ariz., Tampa, Fla., and Jacksonville, Fla.
The game will be played Jan. 11.
Despite some early indications otherwise, New Orleans officials decided not to bid on the 2017 game as well. Cities vying for that contest are Tampa, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Miami, San Antonio and Santa Clara, Calif., site of the soon-to-be-completed San Francisco 49ers new stadium.
New Orleans is expected to focus its efforts on landing the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four. A lack of available hotel rooms prompted the city to focus on 2016, Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said.
“We are pleased with the cumulative offer we were able to make for the rights to host the 2016 College Football Championship Game and believe the (CFP) Playoff Group will see its merit as well,” Hoolahan said. “As for 2017, we simply were unable to meet the hotel inventory requirements of the RFP (request for proposal) due to previously booked business.”
A CFP news release said the 2016 and 2017 host cities will be selected later this year. Previous reports said the sites will be named in November.
The inaugural CFP championship game will be played Jan. 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Sugar Bowl has already been selected as one of six bowls that will serve as rotating hosts for the CFP semifinal games.
The Sugar will host semifinals in 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024. Other semifinal bowls are the Rose (the same years as the Sugar), Orange, Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A.
Under CFP rules, cities may not host semifinals and the final in the same year. As a result, New Orleans could not bid for the inaugural CFP championship game in 2015.
Being in semifinal rotation does not guarantee a city a CFP championship game. In the CFP system, the championship game is being awarded on a bid basis similar to the Super Bowl or the Final Four.
Under the BCS format, which ends in January at the Rose Bowl, the championship game rotated every four years between New Orleans, Miami, Pasadena and Glendale. New Orleans hosted BCS title games in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
“Obviously, communities across our country want to be part of the new playoff,” CFP and BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said. “College football is a national sport, and rotating the game will bring it to more fans where they live. This is a compelling feature of the playoff, and one which will make this sport even more popular.
“We’re thrilled with the response from these fine communities and look forward to evaluating their proposals.”