College Football Hall of Fame to Move to Downtown Atlanta
The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today its board of directors has accepted a plan to relocate the College Football Hall of Fame, currently located in South Bend, Ind., to the Centennial Olympic Park area in Atlanta, Ga. The move will create a new state-of-the art 50,000 square foot interactive facility steps from the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Philips Arena, Georgia Dome, and the future Center for Civil & Human Rights.
“An impressive group from Atlanta has pulled together the financial resources and an extremely compelling plan that will help us build a new platform for the future,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “Accepting their plan will create a new high-tech facility that will showcase the legends of our sport and build on the momentum and interest that we have been able to generate in South Bend.”
The current timeline calls for the new $50 million facility to open in the fall of 2012. Through a new partnership between the NFF and the Chick-fil-A Bowl, once constructed, the Hall will be operated locally by the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This will provide a built-in experienced management structure and a direct tie to a 42-year college football tradition in Atlanta with strong connections to the community. The Chick-fil-A Bowl and its corporate partner, Chick-fil-A, have collectively contributed $10 million for the new College Football Hall of Fame facility.
“We have had a great run in South Bend for the past 15 years, and it’s been a wonderful showcase for us and our mission,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “There are a lot of special people in South Bend, and we want to thank Mayor Luecke and all of his constituents for their support over the years. As we looked to the future, the NFF Board determined that the Atlanta proposal presented a powerful opportunity for reaching fans around the country.”
Covering 28 counties and 5.3 million residents, Atlanta is the eighth largest metropolitan region in the country. The city annually attracts more than 37 million visitors, including 5 million convention attendees. The Atlanta downtown boasts more than 10,000 hotel rooms, and the city is one of the most accessible in the nation with Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport located within a two-hour flight for 80 percent of the U.S. population. The airport is also the nation's busiest in terms of flights, offering non-stop service from 178 cities. Ranking fourth nationally in total number of corporate headquarters, several major college football sponsors, including Chick-fil-A, AT&T, Coca-Cola and The Home Depot, claim Atlanta as their base of operations.
“Atlanta is a true mecca for college football. It’s our way of life, and we’re passionate about it,” said Gary Stokan, president and CEO of the Chick-fil-A Bowl. “Atlanta will showcase this national treasure like never before and provide fans superior access and an improved experience.”
Today’s announcement complements several moves during the past three years by the NFF to create a stronger national presence as a leading voice in the promotion of amateur football from border-to-border and coast-to-coast. In 2007, the NFF relocated its corporate headquarters from Morristown, N.J. to Dallas, Texas. In 2008, the NFF launched NFF gridiron clubs in New York City and Dallas, and just last month, the NFF relaunched the Campbell Trophy with a major event in Palo Alto, Calif.