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Title games return to the south | News, Sports, Employment

The Associated Press

Atlanta and South Florida have been selected to host the College Football Playoff national championship games for the second time.

The CFP announced Monday that Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., would be the site of the title game scheduled to be played in January 2026, the final game of the current 12-year media rights agreement with ESPN.

Miami Gardens hosted the 2021 game, following the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season.

“South Florida was a great host for the 2021 national championship game, although the event had to be cut short due to COVID-19, and we look forward to returning in 2026 with a full set of ‘events and activities during the national championship weekend’. CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement.

The game between Alabama and Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, was limited to about 15,000 fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. The stadium has more than 65,000 seats.

In its announcement, the CFP said the host of the 2025 game has also been selected and will be announced at a later date.

A person familiar with the decision, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made, said Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be the site of that game.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported this decision.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 75,000-seat retractable roof stadium, is home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United and the Peach Bowl.

A press conference has been scheduled at the stadium on Tuesday to make the announcement. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens will attend.

The first Alabama-Georgia championship game in 2018 was played in Atlanta and the Crimson Tide won in overtime.

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