The College Football Playoff announced in Chicago that its National Championship will be held in Atlanta in 2018, Santa Clara in 2019 and New Orleans in 2020.
That marks another snub for Big Ten cities, which have never hosted a major college bowl game. Minneapolis and Detroit bid for this cycle, to no avail.
With last year's game played in North Texas, this year's in Arizona, then the next on in Tampa, none of the first six games will be held in the North.
The most common argument against playing a bowl game in a Big Ten city is that it's cold, and people don't want to visit cold cities. It's important to note that the Minneapolis game would've been played in the brand new, domed, state-of-the-art Minnesota Vikings stadium, so the cold wouldn't be an issue during its game.
- 2015 (last season's): Arlington, Texas
- 2016 (this season's): Glendale, Arizona
- 2017: Tampa
- 2018: Atlanta
- 2019: Santa Clara, California
- 2020: New Orleans
"We know what the weather's like in the northern tier," Hancock said. "We thought we could do this in any of these nine cities, including Detroit and Minneapolis. Northern-tier cities have not been ruled out."
There's this idea among fans on the coasts and in the south that all Upper Midwest cities are full of abandoned, rusted-down factories. That used to be true! But since the turn of the century, many Midwestern cities, including Minneapolis, have rebuilt their downtowns. Downtown Minneapolis has many diverse areas, full of bars, restaurants and nightlife.
Everything is centralized. Heck, Minneapolis has been preparing for a game like this. It even made sure no Alabama fan would ever have to walk in the cold. It has a very nice 69-block pedestrian bridge system that is climate controlled year-round. Minneapolis is far more centralized than the Bay Area, where Santa Clara is.
The other big factor in not choosing Minneapolis? It's hosting the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Final Four in 2019. The committee didn't want to be third fiddle, and Hancock said it worried about "community fatigue." It seems unlikely fans would not attend the game because of the previous two events, especially since most tickets will be taken up by the fan bases of the participating schools.
Moreover, Hancock said one of the reasons New Orleans was chosen was that it has hosted so often before. He said that Phoenix is hosting the three back-to-back-to-back, with the College Football Playoff in the middle, but did not discuss the significance of that.
Hancock said the Playoff was already in Chicago for meetings, so that explains the announcement site choice.
The next bidding process will take place in two or three years. Note to Midwestern cities: Don't host too many events, but host some events, and prove that you actually do enjoy sports. Then maybe college football's biggest games will visit this bowl-neglected area of the country.