Events, concerts and more set for National Championship weekend


Photo Natalia Ayoub

Even though the game is at Raymond James, Downtown Tampa will be packed this weekend with championship events.

Macy McClintock, Staff Writer

With only three days until the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, football fans and large crowds are bringing new attention and energy to the Bay Area. Events begin Friday, Jan. 6 and continue through the weekend until the game on Monday, Jan. 9, and include free concerts, fireworks, festivals, autographs and games.

Playoff Fan Central

This fan festival includes band and cheerleader performances, mascot appearances, player autographs and various football- themed interactive games and activities. It is open on Friday, Jan. 6 from 3-8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 7 from 12 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 8 from 12 to 8 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Tickets cost $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

AT&T Playoff Playlist Live

This three day free concert event takes place at Curtis Hixon Park and includes Chick-fil-A promotions, live music, interactive activities and contests and headlines different acts each day, ending each night with fireworks. On Friday, the gates open at 5 p.m. and opening acts start at 6 p.m. The Shadowboxers and Clare Dunn start the show, with country singer Eric Paslay headlining. On Saturday the gates open at 12 p.m. and include various activities throughout the day. Opening acts start at 6 p.m. and include Cold War Kids and Rachel Platten, with headliner Flo Rida. Gates open at noon on Sunday and opening acts start at 6 p.m., including Jamie N Commons and Gavin DeGraw. Usher headlines and SNL’s Jay Pharaoh is hosting. The gates close at 11 p.m. each night.

Media Day

Media Day takes place on Saturday and starts at 9 a.m. The day will feature both teams and the coaching staffs as more than 1000 media members interview players and preview the game. The event is free and each attendee will receive a free ticket to Playoff Fan Central. It will be held at Amalie Arena.

Championship Beach Bash

This free event will create a pep rally-type atmosphere on Clearwater Beach from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. on Saturday. There will be games, live music and appearances from both championship team bands and cheerleaders. It is located at 10 Pier 60, Clearwater, FL 33767.

Extra Yard 5k

The 2017 Extra Yard 5k is the official road race of the College Football Playoff. It will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday and start at Amalie Arena. The 3.1 mile course takes place in the heart of Downtown Tampa and a piece of Bayshore Boulevard. There will also be a 1-mile fun run. Registration for the 5k is $30 and the fun run is $15. There will be a drawing for two tickets to the National Championship game at the end of the race.

Championship Tailgate

This tailgate takes place outside of Raymond James Stadium on Monday from 12 to 6:30 p.m. A ticket to the game is required for admission. Country singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley will headline the stage. The game takes place after the tailgate and kickoff is set for 8:17 p.m.

Getting Around Tampa

If you’re not headed to one the events, make sure to avoid Downtown Tampa for all four days, for there will be road blockage, delays and a heavy flow of traffic. There will especially be road closures on Ashley Dr. On Saturday and Sunday, the Reversible Express Lanes (REL) will be switched to the westbound direction allowing traffic to enter downtown. It will then be switched back to the eastbound direction at 7 p.m. each day, allowing traffic to exit the city. On Monday, Tampa will most likely have increased congestion from 11 a.m. to after midnight.