For the first time, New Orleans will host the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 13. But even before the top-ranked LSU Tigers face-off against Clemson, the city will buzz with a whole weekend’s worth activities leading up to the big game.
College Football Playoff organizers are hosting three days of festivities for fans from Saturday to Monday. Fans can participate and experience the events in and around what’s being called “Championship Campus,” located in downtown New Orleans.
“The event has evolved into a major, almost Super Bowl-like event with music festivals with the taste of New Orleans event,” Host Committee Executive Director Jeff Hundley told FOX 8 News.
Events include free, star-studded concerts in Woldenberg Park, an indoor, interactive fan fest at the Convention Center and a tailgating experience in the Jax Brewery parking lot, among other activities. And the best part — most of the events are free.
The 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship will take place on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game will air live on ESPN.
Even if you don’t have tickets for the National Championship Game, between LSU and Clemson, here’s a list of fan activities happening around downtown New Orleans.
Playoff Fan Central
Saturday, Jan. 11 – Monday, Jan. 13, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Fans of all ages can head to the Ernest N. Moral Convention Center for 200,000 square feet of interactive experiences. Playoff Fan Central is a three-day, family-friendly event that includes games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph signings and exhibits celebrating college football and its history.
“You can go there, pass footballs, kick field goals, test your football skills,” College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock told FOX 8 News. “There’ll be pep rally, marching band performances. Lot of food and beverages. The thing is free, fun, and family events.”
Playoff Fan Central opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.
Allstate Championship Tailgate Plaza
Saturday, Jan. 11 – Monday, Jan. 13, Jax Brewery Lot/Woldenberg Park
Organizers say this spot is the gathering place for fans who want to experience “extreme tailgating” throughout the weekend. The free outdoor experience at Jax Brewery parking lot will include activities from zip lines to barbecue.
In addition, Allstate Championship Tailgate Plaza will serve as ESPN’s New Orleans home for live broadcasts leading up to the game.
Mega country star and Louisiana native Tim McGraw and alt-rock band Judah & the Lion will perform on Monday at Woldenberg Park.
The Championship Tailgate Plaza opens from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
AT&T Playoff Playlist Live
Saturday, Jan. 11 & Sunday, Jan. 12, Woldenberg Park
Fans can see a star-studded music lineup at the AT&T Playoff Playlist Live event on Saturday and Sunday at Woldenberg Park.
Grammy-winning R&B artist H.E.R., rap icon Nas and multi-platinum pop artist MAX perform on Saturday. The music continues on Sunday with chart-topping star Meghan Trainor, British indie pop band Bastille and New Orleans’ own Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
Gates for AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! open at 4 p.m. each day, and fans will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.
CFP Media Day
Saturday, Jan. 11, Xavier University of Louisiana Convocation Center
Xavier University will play host to the CFP Media day, where fans are invited to watch players while student-athletes and coaches are interviewed by the participating media.
Media Day features one-hour sessions with student-athletes and coaches from LSU and Clemson. More than 1,000 credentialed media members will be present to cover the event, in addition to live broadcasts from ESPN and conference networks and social media platforms.
Fans will be provided with a complimentary small radio to listen in as student-athletes and coaches are interviewed by the participating media.
Clemson interviews will begin at 8:30 a.m. LSU interviews start at 10 a.m. Media Day is free and open to the public.
Extra Yard 5K
Sunday, Jan. 12, Lafayette Square
The Extra Yard 5K is a family-friendly run/walk on Sunday in conjunction with the College Football Playoff.
The spirited course is unique to this event with a route through the French Quarter and finishing with a post-race tailgate party featuring live entertainment, activities with race sponsors, and an awards ceremony.
Awards will be given to the top three finishers in each age group. In addition, the Top Overall Male and Top Overall Female will each win two tickets to the 2020 CFP National Championship.
Registration includes a participant shirt, a finisher’s medal, a race bib, and one entry into a drawing to win two tickets to the national championship game. All proceeds benefit Extra Yard for Teachers.
Fans can register here for the event.
Eckrich Taste of the Championship
Sunday, Jan. 12, Mardi Gras World
Foodies can sample gourmet food and drink from New Orleans chefs on the eve of the national championship game. The Eckrich Taste of the Championship is a premium dining experience and fundraising event at Mardi Gras World.
The 2020 edition of this premium event serves as a unique combination of an exploration of local cuisine and a celebration of the teaching profession. All proceeds benefit the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative.
Find out information about tickets here.
For more information about the 2020 College Football Playoff and surrounding events, visit the website.