Atlanta & Miami to Host College Football Playoff National Championship in 2025, 2026

Atlanta & Miami to Host College Football Playoff National Championship in 2025, 2026 article feature image

David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: The CFP National Championship trophy.

Atlanta and Miami have been selected to host the 2025 and 2026 College Football Playoff title games, respectively, sources told Action Network.

Atlanta was a late replacement to host the 2025 championship when negotiations between Las Vegas and the College Football Playoff couldn’t be finalized because of scheduling conflicts in Las Vegas, sources said.

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Action Network first reported in May that Atlanta and Miami would likely host the 2025 and 2026 title games.

Announcing these dates will kill any chance for the playoff to expand beyond four teams before the 2027 season. Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff had recently said expanding before the current 12-year contract ended in 2026 might be a possibility.

The 2025 and 2026 championships are the final two years of the CFP’s original 12-year contract. This year’s title game will be played in Los Angeles (Jan. 9, 2023), followed by Houston (Jan. 8, 2024), Atlanta (Jan. 6, 2025) and Miami (Jan. 5, 2026).

Atlanta and Miami will become the only cities to host two College Football Playoff title games during the CFP’s 12-year contract. Atlanta also hosted the fourth CFP title game in 2018.

While Atlanta was sought to replace Las Vegas, Miami was rewarded with a second title game because of the financial hardships it incurred during the 2020 COVID-19 season, sources said. That season, the title game attendance was limited to 20 percent capacity because of COVID-19.

Commissioners are hoping to begin the process of determining a new playoff format, that would start after the 2026 regular season. All 10 commissioners have indicated they want an expanded playoff but have not agreed on the number of teams, qualifying standards and other details.

“There's a lot of work to do,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “We have time and we'll use it. It’s the same type of issues that you've heard, AQ, no AQ, how many teams, what's the relationship to the bowls, when do we play these games on a calendar. We really need to look at that more deeply than we did in the previous iteration. We’ll see how it goes, but those are the realities.”

Added ACC commissioner Jim Phillips: “We've talked about access, automatic qualifiers. There's a lot of things to discuss, but those things, again, I would tell you I do not think have really separated that much.”

However, the SEC is a proponent of the highest ranked teams, regardless of whether they are conference champions, make the playoff. Other leagues — such as the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC — favor having conference champions received automatic qualification.

“I walked into one of the first meetings when we were looking at the format and said, ‘If we want to expand to eight teams for the playoff with no automatic bids, I'll have that conversation,’” Sankey said. “But moving to an eight-team playoff and granting what were going to be six automatic bids, reducing at-large access, is unwise.

“I’d be fine with no AQs, whether it’s four like we have now, a model that’s worked; eight, 12 (teams). But the inclusion of conference champion access was, I thought, an effective compromise to the 12-team playoff.”

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