Tampa, Florida - There was an air of excitement at Raymond James Stadium on Monday as it was announced that Tampa will host the 2017 College Football National Championship game.
"Just so many organizations that have pulled together to make team Tampa Bay a success," said Rob Higgins.
The executive director of the Tampa Sports Commission led the effort to convince college football officials to bring the game to the Bay area in 2017.
"Now we've got to make sure we hit this one out of the park so that this is a long-term play for us," he said.
Among those on hand for the Monday announcement was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who see years of economic opportunities that will ripple throughout Tampa Bay.
"We're on everyone's radar both from an economic development perspective as well as a city that knows how to host big event. It does it without drama and does it flawlessly," said the mayor following a press conference at Raymond James Stadium.
There are some issues that are being looked at closely, however, in advance of the game in 2017.
Raymond James Stadium seats 65,857 people. Compare that to the 80,120 who attended the 2013 BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
"We'll add six thousand and some change. At the end of the day, we'll be right around 72,000 seats," said Higgins.
The pool of applicants for the 2017 game included Raymond James Stadium, Levi's Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area, EverBank Field, the Alamodome in San Antonio, and Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Chick-Fil-A and Fiesta Bowls will host the 2017 semifinals.
"It was a difficult decision for the management committee, because there were many good options, but Arizona and Tampa Bay were selected because of their top-notch facilities and because of the thorough proposals their leaders submitted. We were impressed by all the bids and we know communities' interest will only increase in the coming years," said College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock.
The game will be played in Arlington, TX in 2015 and awarded to Glendale, AZ for the 2016 game.