College Football Hall of Fame Moves to Atlanta
Key epicenter for college football provides powerful setting for expanding the National Football Foundation's presence from border-to-border and coast-to-coast.
DALLAS, Sept. 24, 2009 - 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
“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.
Today’s announcement will have no impact on the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which will continue to be staged at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City each December. During this highly celebrated tradition, the NFF inducts the Hall of Famers from the Football Bowl Subdivision while also bestowing as many as 18 college student-athletes with a prestigious $18,000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award. Also at the event, the NFF names one member of the scholar-athlete class as the absolute best and the recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth and formerly known as the Draddy Trophy.
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, Grantland Rice, and Army Coach Earl “Red” Blaik, the NFF exists as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, consisting of 120 chapters and 12,000 members who stage more than 1,000 events each year with a presence in 47 states. Launched in 1951 as the NFF’s first major initiative, the College Football Hall of Fame serves as the centerpiece to the organization’s efforts. The hall currently immortalizes the tales of 1,053 legends who have earned college football’s highest honor. The hall has been located in South Bend, Ind., since 1995. The NFF mission is to promote the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence in America’s young people.
Quotes on the Announcement
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe:
“Interest in college football is at an all-time high. Congratulations to the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame in deciding to relocate the Hall to Atlanta where it will be easily assessable to so many fans. This certainly will build upon the unprecedented popularity of the sport.”
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Executive Director Mike Cleary
“The College Football Hall of Fame plays an important role for colleges and universities around the country, providing them a national platform for promoting the best from their respective institutions. Moving the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta will raise the profile for this important national asset and benefit all of college football by allowing more people to experience the history of the game.”
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany
“The National Football Foundation has done a great job in generating interest nationwide in all its programs during the past few years. Relocating the hall is the latest in a series of efforts to engage more and more people across the country in their mission while also allowing a greater number of fans to celebrate the accomplishments of college football’s greatest legends.”
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin:
“The City of Atlanta is excited to welcome the College Football Hall of Fame to downtown Atlanta. This major tourism venue will be a welcomed attraction to downtown where we already have the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, the CNN Center, Centennial Park and others. I’m especially proud of the work done by the Atlanta Development Authority and their partners in attracting the College Football Hall of Fame to our city.”
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive:
“The Southeastern Conference congratulates the city of Atlanta for landing the College Football Hall of Fame. The National Football Foundation has learned what many of us in the SEC already knew - that the combination of the strong local business climate, the tenacity of the local leadership and the passion of the football fans in city, state and the Southeast - make Atlanta an outstanding host for the Hall of Fame. With the addition of the Hall of Fame, the Centennial Olympic Park area will be an even larger attraction for our fans that come to Atlanta during the year.”
ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“College football has passionate fans and the excitement level surrounding the sport only grows with each passing season. As an organization, the National Football Foundation continues to do a tremendous job of preserving college football’s storied history while also focusing on the future of the sport. The City of Atlanta will be a terrific home for the College Football Hall of Fame.”
American Football Coaches Association Executive Director Grant Teaff
“The College Football Hall of Fame stands as the centerpiece to our efforts to inspire young people to follow in the footsteps of our sport’s greatest coaches and players. Atlanta, as one of the most accessible cities in our country, will greatly aid our efforts in exposing thousands of more fans to the history of our game.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL
& COLLEGE HALL OF FAME
Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Campbell Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. Learn more at http://www.footballfoundation.org
ABOUT THE CHICK-FIL-A BOWL:
The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and hosts the longest-running rivalry series between the ACC and SEC. Now in its 42nd year, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has established itself as one of the nation’s elite bowl games with a string of 12 consecutive sellouts and has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the nation. Ten of the last 17 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has disbursed more than $90 million in team payouts over its 41-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $1.2 million to organizations in need in 2007 alone. Other events under the Chick-fil-A Bowl brand include the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge head coach and celebrity golf event each April and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game season-opening game over Labor Day weekend which hosted two top-10 teams, Alabama and Virginia Tech, to open the 2009 season Sept. 5. Learn more at www.chick-fil-abowl.com
Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation
Matt Garvey, Chick-fil-A Bowl
# # #
Name: Phil Marwill
Organization: The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Inc.
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