College football mania headed to San Jose

A week of special events in downtown San Jose will culminate Jan. 7 with the title game of the College Football Playoff at Levi’s Stadium.


“In my 28 years working sports and entertainment in this city, this is our best chance to showcase San Jose on a national stage,” said Patricia Ernstrom, Bay Area Host Committee executive director, at SJDA’s public meeting Sept. 14.


More than 100,000 Bay Area residents and visitors from across the nation are expected to attend multiple fan events in downtown San Jose:


Starting Jan. 4 – Playoff Fan Central at the San Jose Convention Center – Includes youth clinics, pep rallies, football legends, marching band performances and hands-on football skills experiences. 


Starting Jan. 4 – AT&T Playoff Playlist Live at Discovery Meadow – Free music festival featuring top-name entertainment.  Past performers have included UsherThe ChainsmokersClaire DunnJohn MellencampWalk the MoonSting and Lenny Kravitz.


Jan. 5 – Media Day at SAP Center – Free event to watch and listen to players and coaches from both teams be interviewed.  The title game involves the winners of the Cotton and Orange Bowl games Dec. 29.


Jan. 6 – Taste of the Championship – The Tech Museum hosts the region’s best restaurants and celebrates Teachers of the Year from all 50 states.


In the week leading up to the game, the center city will transition from “Downtown for the Holidays” into the Championship Campus, with Plaza de Cesar Chavez serving as “The Quad” and home of ESPN’s 24-hour coverage of the championship week.  As it was for Super Bowl 50, real grass turf will cover San Pedro Street for games and activities.  Christmas in the Park will close Dec. 26 to allow the park to be re-sod for ESPN and other football events.  Downtown Ice will remain open and become part of the Campus spectacle.


The Bay Area Host Committee is collecting special events and hours from businesses for its Fan Guide.  Businesses can also contact the committee for posters, event materials and game decorations to add to the festive theme.


“It’s more than a football game,” Ernstrom said. “We’ll get to enjoy the passion, pageantry and tradition of college football.”


Operationally, the City Council heard a report Sept. 18 about preparations for the Championship Weekend, including public safety, airport, downtown super-graphic signs and logistics for the outdoor events. 


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