Chick-fil-A College Kickoff - History


Organizers intend for the game to become a national spotlight game, on par with the Kickoff Classic, held in the Meadowlands from 1983–2002, and the Disneyland Pigskin Classic in the 1990s. Led by Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s chief marketing officer, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff wants to become the centerpiece of ESPN's Kickoff Week; in 2008, ESPN's College Gameday broadcasted from downtown Atlanta, while ESPN corporate sponsors and local Atlanta-based companies featured prominent displays at Fanzones in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Robinson intends for the game to become the headliner of a three-day football weekend in Atlanta, beginning with a college game at the Georgia Dome on the opening Thursday of the season, followed by a high-profile high school game in Atlanta on Friday night, and a concert on Saturday along with FanZone and an A-list game that night. While the first three games have been ACC-SEC contests, Robinson hopes to make the game a national affair, by offering "national brand-name" teams, such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas, the opportunity to participate.

Auburn and UCLA were contacted about playing in the Georgia Dome in 2010, but Auburn backed out of the offer. ABC then attempted to substitute Georgia Tech for the Tigers, but UCLA opted out because the game would essentially be a home game for the Atlanta-based Yellow Jackets, with no return trip to Los Angeles. Finally, an agreement was reached with North Carolina and LSU to face off in the 2010 game.

The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff consisted of two games in 2012; Tennessee defeated N.C. State 35-21 on Friday night prior to Clemson defeating Auburn 26-19 in the headliner on Saturday. The dual-game idea was first mentioned in the Miami Herald in May 2010, when Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, told the newspaper that there was the possibility of having the Alabama Crimson Tide face the Miami Hurricanes in a rematch of the 1993 Sugar Bowl.

Payout to each team depends on the amount of revenue gained in excess of the Kickoff's $5.5 million budget. In 2008, Clemson and Alabama were both expected to receive more than $2 million. For both the 2008 and 2009 games, each participating school has sold out their entire allotment of 31,200 tickets, so there has never been a need for a public sale of tickets.

For the 2011 matchup, Boise State was allotted 7,500 tickets, a similar amount of tickets the school sold for a game the previous year in Washington, D.C.. Georgia received the remainder of the school-allotted tickets.

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