PHOENIX (May 6, 2015) — Fresh from its Super Bowl star turn, downtown Phoenix will take center stage when college football season ascends to its annual winter crescendo.

Downtown Phoenix will be the site of a weekend fan festival, a concert series and ESPN’s live-broadcast
headquarters during the days leading up to the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium on Jan. 11, 2016.

The Arizona Organizing Committee and College Football Playoff organization made the announcement at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday—a day after Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Fiesta Bowl officials announced that the Cactus Bowl will be relocated to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix for at least the next three years, beginning in 2015.

Stanton said the events leading up to the championship game will “turn downtown Phoenix into the nation’s sports epicenter.”

Stanton said downtown Phoenix will reprise the role it took on for Super Bowl XLIX, when the convention center housed a media center and an interactive football theme park, and the surrounding blocks were transformed into an outdoor fan campus filled with concert stages and food-and-beverage options.

Organizing committee officials said concert headliners and other events associated with the college football championship will be announced during the next eight months.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, announced that ESPN will construct its live-broadcast set in downtown Phoenix—a notable change from the Super Bowl, when ESPN broadcast from outside Scottsdale Fashion Square.

“After several site visits to the Valley of the Sun,” Hancock said, “our staff ultimately felt that downtown Phoenix would serve as a solid foundation for us to build on for the 2016 national championship game.”

The Cactus Bowl will move to Chase Field for the next three seasons due to construction at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium. The bowl game, run by the Fiesta Bowl, was held at Chase Field from 2000-05, when it was called the Insight Bowl, before moving to Sun Devil Stadium.