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November 1, 2017

Bill Hancock

Grapevine, Texas

GINA LEHE: Good afternoon. Welcome to the College Football Playoff site selection teleconference. Joining us on the call today is CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock.

At this time, I'd like to welcome Bill Hancock for an opening statement.

BILL HANCOCK: Thank you, Gina.

Hello, everybody. Thank you for participating in the call today. We're delighted that today we're able to complete our goal, which was Ten in Ten, and that is, the first ten CFP Championship Games will be played in ten different cities.

We're just very happy that people in so many communities will be able to experience the game of college football. The excitement that's been displayed in the four cities this afternoon is just such a great tribute to the health and vitality of our game, and we couldn't be happier to be adding these four cities to the college football playoff family. Each of them met or exceeded our standards, and each has a first class stadium, of course, that our fans are going to love, with a great convention center and excellent hotels and tremendous community support, the people power. So this is a very, very good day for college football.

Gina, I'll stop there and turn it back over to you.

GINA LEHE: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. I was wondering, can you just address Houston's selection and what you see in them. Just the NCAA's been here before for Final Fours and other big events, but just getting the city in at least this initial ten to host a Championship Game.
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, Houston has so many venues available to someone like us. Obviously, a great, modern, terrific stadium for the game, but also the multiple convention centers and arenas and the downtown park that will make a terrific setting for our festival.

Obviously, the community has demonstrated its love and support for college sports by hosting those two outstanding Final Fours and also, of course, the Super Bowl. Houston has everything we need.

Q. Good afternoon, Bill. I was wondering, interesting to see Indianapolis. I know there have been some other Midwest sites, Minneapolis. Were there any -- other than maybe Minneapolis, were there any other Midwest sites under consideration this time around? What was the determining factor with Indianapolis about going to a cold weather city?
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, Ralph, we had interest from other northern tier cities, absolutely. We just kept asking ourselves why not go north? When we decided to look at north, Indianapolis stood out because of the stadium and the great concise footprint downtown and because of the success it's had in hosting all those Final Fours and plus a tremendous Super Bowl.

Q. Good day, Bill. I know that you guys have done this before, but can you talk a little bit about the process when you're selecting a stadium that you can't go look at, that hasn't been constructed yet.
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, we have done it before. We did it in Atlanta. We received tremendous detailed information from the people in Los Angeles about the new stadium. When we finished our presentation with them, we felt like we had been inside the stadium itself. This will be a world class facility, and I can't wait for college football fans to get to experience it in the same way that we did during this process.

Q. Quick followup, if I may. Was there -- obviously the BCS was out here. Was L.A. something that was always on the CFP radar?
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, it was. Obviously, we had great success in L.A., and so we know what a tremendous destination it is. We just know that people are really going to enjoy being back in Los Angeles.

I will say this, David, the Rose Bowl game obviously continues to be a bedrock of college football, and if there ever was a sports icon in America, it's the Rose Bowl Stadium. And, obviously, the Rose Bowl Game continues to be an important part of the CFP as a semifinal host.

The new stadium will just have so much to offer for the student-athletes and the fans, and we intend to have really the best of both worlds in Los Angeles.

Q. Hi, Bill. I was curious how many -- if you can give us a ballpark figure of how many city sites were in the running for these four Championship Games and contacted you about that. And also, outside of the obvious intent to go to ten different cities the first ten years, anything about Dallas/Ft. Worth, which hosted the first game, any concerns about Dallas/Ft. Worth as a host site in the future, whether this time around or going forward? And when do you see the Playoff maybe considering cities that have hosted again -- you know, in terms of returning there?
BILL HANCOCK: All good questions, Chuck. We will take our time before we decide about the hosts in '25 and '26. Once we decided Ten in Ten, we identified these four cities as the cities where we thought we'd be best served to go.

To your question about how many cities were in the hunt, we stayed in touch with cities around the country who are interested in being involved in our event, and off the top of my head, I would say there's probably eight or ten of those where we just maintained communication.

About the process, it was a thoughtful and deliberate decision, a unanimous decision made by the management committee. We are very sensitive to the time and expense involved in bidding. I have been through this many times, and I've seen what cities go through, these bidding processes, and we had been through actually two different ones here for CFP. It just didn't make sense to subject cities to the cost of another bid.

This is an emerging trend, I think, in our industry -- that is, identifying cities and negotiating directly with them. Obviously, it was the best way for us to achieve our goal of Ten in Ten, but as I said before, we're not foreclosing any opportunity for the future. But once we realized we knew where we wanted to go, it would have been inappropriate and probably unethical for us to have conducted a traditional bid process.

And you probably remember, we used a similar method in the first year when we targeted Dallas and Tampa for the first Championship Game. So what we wound up with these four cities was they were competing against a standard that we had established and also a deadline. We wanted the management committee to be in a position to make the decision today. What we did was condensed the process that, oh, goodness, might have taken us about a year into four months. Both the cities that were awarded the sites and those that were not saved a considerable amount of time and resources.

Did I hit all the questions, Chuck? I hope I did. If not, let me know.

Q. The only thing, I know there was some concern in Dallas being too spread out when it hosted the first time. It didn't have the kind of centralized sort of involvement that you guys were looking for. Is that one concern with Dallas going forward in terms of any host situation?
BILL HANCOCK: Oh, every city has strengths and weaknesses, and Dallas has a world class stadium. My goodness, everywhere you go when you talk stadiums, everybody's talking about AT&T Stadium. So we really didn't get to the point of talking very much about Dallas this time because of the Ten in Ten.

GINA LEHE: Seeing that there are no further questions, we'd like to thank everyone for participating in today's call. Again, we will be transcribing the call from today, and that will be shortly available following the conclusion of the call. Thank you so much.

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