Championship updates: More than 68,000 attend college football title game

Check back here often for updates about the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 10 and the accompanying concerts and other events leading up to the game.

11:45 p.m.. Monday

Attendance tops 68,000 for championship game

The College Football National Championship announced Monday night attendance of 68,311, a sell-out at Lucas Oil Stadium.

9:15. p.m., Monday

Luck at title game after being named to College Football Hall of Fame class

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is on hand at the national championship game as one of 18 players named Monday to the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame class.

Luck, who played at Stanford University from 2009-2012, was among the inductees selected from a national ballot of 78 players and seven coaches. Luck was a two-time PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year at Stanford University and was twice a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

Luck was drafted first overall by the Colts and played seven seasons for the team, abruptly retiring before the 2019 season, citing injuries.

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from the University of Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”

The 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 64th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6.

Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who led the Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2007, was also at Lucas Oil Stadium for the game.

8:10 p.m., Monday

Coin includes image of Lucas Oil Stadium

The coin tossed at the start of the College Football Playoff National Championship was made specially for the game in Indianapolis.

One side featured the CFP logo and the other an engraving of Lucas Oil Stadium.

The University of Georgia won the toss and opted to defer its decision to the second half. The University of Alabama elected to receive the opening kickoff.

The coin used in the College Football Playoff championship game. (Photo taken from ESPN broadcast)

7:50 p.m., Monday

Host committee chair says he’s determined to have football title game return to Indy

Mark Howell, chairman of the Indianapolis Host Committee, said he is determined to help lure the College Football Playoff National Championship back to Indianapolis in the future.

Speaking to IBJ from the field about 30 minutes prior to kickoff, Howell said he would like to see the city in a permanent rotation for the championship, much like what’s typically done with the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.

He spoke after CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said it’s “too soon” to know whether the game will return. But Hancock said he’s been impressed with the city’s effort.

Read more

Alabama, Georgia fans enjoy fan festivities before the game

5 p.m., Monday

Sam Hunt wraps up three days of Monument Circle concerts

Sam Hunt
Sam Hunt performs Monday on Monument Circle. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

Fans of the universities of Alabama and Georgia spent some time before Monday’s championship game catching a free concert by country-pop singer Sam Hunt on a chilly but sunny Monument Circle.

Hunt wore a flannel shirt over a T-shirt in the 27-degree conditions, in contrast to Doja Cat’s bikini wardrobe choice on Saturday night and the completely shirtless appearance by Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun on Sunday.

Georgia native Hunt sang hits such as “House Party” and he invited supporting act Breland (who grew his music career in Atlanta) onstage for a duet performance of “My Truck.”

Fans stopped to pose for photos near oversized College Football Playoff logos on the south half of Monument Circle. A free zipline attraction on the west side of the concert area attracted little interest among visitors, but the free leap-into-a-giant-airbag attraction billed as “Touchdown Bag Jump” appeared to be a hit.

4:45 p.m., Monday

Field is ready for 8:15 p.m. kickoff

The stage is set for this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship, set for kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium at 8:15 p.m.

The University of Georgia will occupy the western sideline—the same one typically used by the Indianapolis Colts—with its name emblazoned on the south end zone. The University of Alabama will be situated on eastern sideline with its name on the northern end zone.

Alabama will enter from the northwest tunnel, while Georgia will come onto the field from the southwestern tunnel.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, with game coverage starting at 8 p.m. The network is carrying programming dedicated to the game throughout the afternoon and evening hours ahead of kickoff.

The Lucas Oil Stadium field with the College Football Playoff logo. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

11 a.m., Monday

Title game, Sam Hunt on tap for final day of championship weekend

After a weekend of festivities, the College Football Playoff National Championship game will take place at 8 p.m. Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Tickets are available through resellers—but expect to pay a high price. Or, you can watch on ESPN.

For those more interested in music than football, more shows are on tap for Monday afternoon. Multi-platinum selling Sam Hunt will perform for free on Monument Circle, along with Breland, which YouTube calls an artist on the rise.

Observant fans will also notice a change in the branding. The Circle will be known Monday as the Capital One Stage at Allstate Championship Tailgate. Over the weekend, it had been branded as AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!

Here’s the Monday rundown of events, which are free unless otherwise indicated.

  • College Football National Championship

The game is set for 8 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium or watch on ESPN.

  • Georgia Street performances

Performances on the west end of Georgia Street, organized by The District Theatre, are scheduled for 12:15. 2:15 and 5 p.m., although the times are approximate.

In addition, concessions, roaming street performers, professional ice carvers, warming stations, and large video screens for concert viewing will be available between the convention center and Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

  • Playoff Fan Central

Open until 3 p.m. Monday, the event at the Indiana Convention Center include games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph sessions and exhibits celebrating college football and its history.

Capital One Stage at Allstate Championship Tailgate

Gates open at noon for free concerts on Monument Circle featuring Sam Hunt and Breland.

  • Interactive goal post murals

Five 10x10x10-foot murals are spread through downtown and at the Indianapolis International Airport as perfect spots for photos and selfies. See below for more information.

  • Sidewalk galleries 

The Capitol Street/CSX underpass connecting the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium has been transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Stroll through to see 15 original artworks and one poem, all by local artists.

  • Live music at the airport

Indie alt-rock band Kristen will perform at Indianapolis International Airport from 2 p.m. to. 4 p.m. DJ Don Masters will host music from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Poster display at IND

The College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee commissioned Indy artists to create 22 unique poster designs, which are on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

5:45 p.m., Sunday

Ride with Adam Vinatieri in a race car through downtown Indy

More than 1,000 people ran in the Extra Yard 5K race as part of the College Football Playoff’s initiative to support host city teachers.

Leading them was former Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who sat in the back of one of two street-legal IndyCars—adorned in University of Alabama and University of Georgia colors—that served as pace cars for participants.

IBJ’s Mickey Shuey attached a GoPro to the car to see what Vinatieri was seeing.

2:30 p.m., Sunday

Drone light show canceled for Sunday, Monday

A light show that was to include 500 illuminated drones near Lucas Oil Stadium has been canceled for Sunday and Monday, Visit Indy said Sunday afternoon.

Organizers also canceled the event on Saturday.

The drones were expected to do 5-minute shows portraying team helmets, mascots and fireworks at about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, part of College Football Playoff championship weekend. The drones. which were to take off from Pan Am Plaza, were also to fly outside Lucas Oil Stadium at halftime of Monday night’s title game and after the third quarter to display team logos and the score.

Visit Indy blamed the cancellations on weather. Indianapolis was plagued by freezing rain on Saturday. On Sunday. the skies were partly cloudy without rain or snow, but winds were consistently topping 15 mph.

11 a.m., Sunday

Twenty One Pilots, Ava Max, food event on tap for Sunday 

More shows are on tap Sunday for music and football fans who want to head downtown to participate in College Football Playoff activities.

Twenty One Pilots and Ava Max are on the free stage on the Circle. Busta Rhymes is playing a ticketed show at the Pan Am Pavilion. And Taste of the Championship is a fundraiser featuring food and drinks from local chefs.

Here’s the Sunday rundown of events, which are free unless otherwise indicated.

  • Georgia Street performances

Performances on the west end of Georgia Street, organized by The District Theatre, are scheduled for 12:15. 2:15 and 5 p.m., although the times are approximate.

In addition, concessions, roaming street performers, professional ice carvers, warming stations, and large video screens for concert viewing will be available between the convention center and Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

  • Playoff Fan Central

From 8 a.m.-5 p.m., the event at the Indiana Convention Center include games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph sessions and exhibits celebrating college football and its history. IBJ has a preview.

  • AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!

Free concerts on Monument Circle start at 6:30 p.m. (gates open at 5 p.m.) and will last through 11 p.m. Today’s shows include Grammy-award winner Twenty One Pilots and pop artist Ava Max. Plus, see aerial dance group Bandaloop, which will be performing off the corner of the Salesforce Tower before the concerts.

  • Busta Rhymes
    Busta Rhymes

    Busta Rhymes concert

Rapper Busta Rhymes and reggae-rock band Dirty Heads are scheduled to perform at Pan Am Pavilion, 201 S. Capitol Ave. Tickets for the show, at 8 p.m., are available for $35 to $80. Visit eventbrite.com for more information.

  • Taste of the Championship

A dining experience and fundraising event at the Indiana State Museum, offering food and drink prepared by local chefs in support of the College Football Playoff Foundation. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. General tickets are $200, with VIP tickets available for $500, and available here.

  • Interactive goal post murals

Five 10x10x10-foot murals are spread through downtown and at the Indianapolis International Airport as perfect spots for photos and selfies. See below for more information.

  • Sidewalk galleries 

The Capitol Street/CSX underpass connecting the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium has been transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Stroll through to see 15 original artworks and one poem, all by local artists.

  • Live music at the airport

Indie synth pop band Manners, Please will perform at the Indianapolis International Airport from 2 p.m. to. 4 p.m. DJ Don Masters will host music from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    • Poster display at IND

The College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee commissioned Indy artists to create 22 unique poster designs, which are on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

6:45 p.m., Saturday

Gates open for concerts; fans rush in

Fans who had been standing in the cold for hours to see R&B artist Doja Cat rushed through metal detectors onto Monument Circle at about 6:40 p.m. Saturday night—more than 90 minutes after the gates were expected to open.

Security guard shouted to try to keep order as people began filing through gates on Meridian Street and around the Circle to the stage on the north side.

Several factors—including the icy weather—delayed the opening. Workers salted the circle before allowing the fans to enter.

6:30 p.m., Saturday

Concert crowd waits for Monument Circle performances

At 6:30 p.m, audience members continued to wait before entering Monument Circle for Saturday night’s performances by Doja Cat, AJR and Pink Sweats.

The need to salt the area because of a winter weather advisory was cited in the 90-minute delay from the scheduled opening of the concert area.

Music fans began lining up on South Meridian Street as early as noon for the free concert.

Zack Anderson, a 14-year-old Fort Wayne resident, arrived with friends around 2 p.m.

“I really want to see Doja,” he said. “It’s my first concert.”

Zack Anderson, far right, came from Fort Wayne to see Doja Cat. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

IBJ reporter Mickey Shuey took these photos of fans waiting for the gates to open.

5:44 p.m., Saturday

Entry gates for Circle concert delayed for salting

College Football Playoff officials say they have delayed opening the gates for Saturday night’s concerts so they can salt the bricked streets and the sidewalks following freezing rain.

5:24 p.m., Saturday

Aerial dance performance, drone light show canceled for Saturday night

Wintery weather has canceled an aerial dance performance that had been planned along the face of Salesforce Tower on Saturday as well as a drone light show that had been scheduled.

Visit Indy said both events are scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The announcement came about an hour after the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory that includes freezing rain and ice for the area until 9 p.m.

Six dancers from the California-based Bandaloop troupe were to perform on the side of Salesforce Tower before the 6:30 p.m. concert on the north side of the Circle. They were expected to hang off the southwest corner of Salesforce Tower.

In addition, 500 illuminated drones were expected to do a 5-minute show portraying team helmets, mascots and fireworks at 6:15 p.m. The drones were set to take off from Pan Am Plaza, and the visuals were to be used by ESPN during its pre-game broadcast. The drones are also scheduled to fly outside Lucas Oil Stadium at halftime of Monday night’s title game and after the third quarter to display team logos and the score.

5:15 p.m., Saturday

Police arrest concertgoer who makes joke about bomb in backpack

Police say they arrested a man who joked that he had a bomb in his backpack in an effort to move up to the line while waiting to enter Monument Circle where College Football Playoff concerts are set to take place later tonight.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer took the backpack, cleared an area and opened it. They found no explosives inside.

“It was a very poor joke,” said Deputy Chief Josh Barker.

He said the fan is being arrested on a charge related to the bomb threat but also for outstanding warrants.

The incident delayed the opening of the gates, where fans must pass through metal detectors.

4:45 p.m., Saturday

Winter weather advisory hits just as concert crowd prepares to enter Circle

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until 9 p.m., a notice that came less than 30 minutes before gates were set to open and let thousands of football and music fans onto Monument Circle for a concert.

The College Football Playoff National Championship celebration is set to start at 5.

At 4:35 p.m., the weather service issued the advisory for Marion and eight other counties, warning that the area should expect freezing rain—which had already started falling—and a light glaze of ice accumulation. “Very slippery sidewalks, roads and bridges are possible,” the advisory said.

Winds of 15 mph to 25 mph could also “cause some limbs to break with isolated power outages possible where ice accumulation is the greatest.”

The advisory said temperatures are expected to rise this evening to above freezing but ground and pavement temperatures could remain below freezing, “allowing spotty icing issues to continue through the evening.”

Despite the weather, a line of fans waiting to enter the Circle snaked down Washington Street and around the corner at Pennsylvania Street.

The gates—with metal detectors—were set to open at 5 p.m., although the concerts aren’t scheduled to start until 6:30 p.m.

Football and music fans lined up along Washington Street on Saturday waiting to get to Monument Circle. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

2:03 p.m., Saturday

Ice sculptor begins weekend on Georgia Street with school logos

 Indiana Ice Studio owner Stephan Koch sculpted the logos of the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama in 75 minutes or so Saturday afternoon on Georgia Street.

The Daleville resident said the large “G” and “A” were less of a challenge than what he intends to depict in ice in coming days: the bulldog and elephant mascots of the respective schools, plus football players to celebrate Monday’s championship game.

“In the winter, I’m carving somewhere every weekend,” Koch said. This weekend, he’s doing double-duty by also participating in Carmel’s Festival of Ice.

Koch’s College Football Playoff schedule Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 3 p.m on Georgia Street, and 5 to 10 p.m. on Monument Circle.

When Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, Koch said he collaborated on a carving that portrayed the New York City skyline along Massachusetts Avenue. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in that year’s game.

Indiana Ice Studio owner Stephan Koch puts the finishing touches on ice carvings of the Georgia and Alabama logos Saturday afternoon on Georgia Street. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

12:35 p.m., Saturday

Monday’s anthem will be sung by Natalie Young—and signed by Indianapolis 12-year-old

Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Monday’s championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kaylen Brown, a 12-year-old student at the Indiana School for the Deaf, will simultaneously sign the national anthem in American Sign Language.

As part of the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, the 2020 and 2021 Teachers of the Year from each U.S. state and territory will be honored on the field before the game.

At halftime, the marching bands of the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia will perform on the field.

Natalie Grant

12:15 p.m., Saturday

Football posters by Indianapolis artists will benefit local teachers

If you’d like to own one (or more) of the 22 football-themed posters on display at Indianapolis International Airport, an online auction is accepting bids until Sunday night.

Money raised during the auction will benefit Teach Indy Now, a partnership between Indianapolis Public Schools, the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation and The Mind Trust.

The Indianapolis host committee curated the 22 posters created by local designers and illustrators.

The “22 for 22” poster initiative includes “Rocket Arm,” left, by Aaron Scamihorn and “Hold the Line,” by Amy McAdams -Gonzalez.

Included in the “22 for 22” gallery are works by Aaron Scamihorn, Amy McAdams-Gonzalez, Jingo de la Rosa and Ross Shafer.

To bid on posters, visit indyfootball2022.com.

https://www.indyfootball2022.com/22for22

The framed posters can be seen at the airport until Tuesday, except for a special display at Sunday’s Taste of the Championship event at the Indiana State Museum.

9:15 a.m., Saturday

Free concerts, arts events abound Saturday

The College Football Playoff championship might not be played until Monday night, but there’s plenty to do this weekend for free in downtown Indianapolis to celebrate the event.

  • Georgia Street performances

Performances on the west end of Georgia Street, organized by The District Theatre, are scheduled for 12:15. 2:15 and 5 p.m., although the times are approximate.

In addition, concessions, roaming street performers, professional ice carvers, warming stations, and large video screens for concert viewing will be available between the convention center and Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

  • Playoff Fan Central

From 8 a.m.-5 p.m., the event at the Indiana Convention Center include games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph sessions and exhibits celebrating college football and its history. IBJ has a preview.

  • Doja Cat (Photo courtesy of RCA Records)

    AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!

Free concerts on Monument Circle start at 5 p.m. and will last through 11 p.m. Today’s shows include Doja Cat and AJR. Plus, see aerial dance group Bandaloop, which will be performing off the corer of the Salesforce Tower before the concerts.

  • Interactive goal post murals

Five 10x10x10-foot murals are spread through downtown and at the Indianapolis International Airport as perfect spots for photos and selfies. See below for more information.

  • Sidewalk galleries 

The Capitol Street/CSX underpass connecting the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium has been transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Stroll through to see 15 original artworks and one poem, all by local artists.

  • Live music at the airport

Singer-songwriter Keith Beatty & his band, The Bayonets, will perform at the Indianapolis International Airport from 2 p.m. to. 4 p.m. DJ Don Masters will host music from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Poster display at IND

The College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee commissioned Indy artists to create 22 unique poster designs, which are on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

8 a.m., Saturday

Goalpost murals echo basketball murals of March

When this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament came to Indianapolis, the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Indiana Sports Corp hired four local artists to create 10x10x10-foot murals depicting basketball courts.

For the College Football Playoff National Championship, the roster of distinctively shaped murals increased to five and goalposts are the focus instead of basketball courts. Visitors are encouraged to step on the murals’ synthetic turf fields.

You can find four murals downtown and one at Indianapolis International Airport:

> “Powerful Impact,” by Israel Solomon, 126 W. Georgia St.

> “Stadium Nights,” by Shelby Riley, Maryland Street entrance of the Indiana Convention Center.

> “Gold Plated,” by Dan Handskillz, the Georgia Street entrance of the Omni Severin Hotel.

> “Light of the World Log Cabin Field Goal,” by Michele Wood, outside the Indiana Convention Center near the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Maryland Street.

> “G.R.I.T.,” by Ashley Nora, Uber/Lyft area of the airport’s Ground Transportation Center.

(IBJ photos/Dave Lindquist)

7 a.m., Saturday

Lucas Oil Stadium menu embraces Alabama and Georgia themes

Attendees at Monday’s game will have the chance to purchase “Crimson Tide Dogs” and “Bulldog Shrimp Tacos” from concourse concession stands inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

The creations from Shimelis Adem, executive chef for hospitality and culinary company Sodexo Live!, will complement special Indiana-inspired menu items: Indiana Whiskey Sour Pork Wings (technically cut from a pig’s shank), Heartland Beer Cheese Steak Sandwich (featuring a cheese fondue made with Sun King beer) and Hoosier Fried Chicken Sandwich.

The Alabama-themed Crimson Tide Dog is a quarter-pound hot dog grilled and topped with pulled pork and onion straws, drizzled with BBQ sauce and served on a bun.

The Georgia-themed Bulldog Shrimp Tacos feature on-brand grilled peaches, peach pico and peach cream sauce,.

Indiana Whiskey Sour Pork Wings. (Photo provided by Sodexo Live!)

11 p.m., Friday

Alabama, Georgia receive warm welcome in frigid Indianapolis

Coach Nick Saban walked off Alabama’s team plane Friday night to a cold, harsh reality.

When he returns to the airport for the final time this season, the Crimson Tide will either be celebrating another national championship or heading home disappointed.

Saban’s top-ranked team received a warm welcome in frigid Indianapolis, arriving shortly after dusk Friday with streaks of orange and red and a bright crescent moon coloring the sky.

Players scurried from the plane to buses with temperatures in the teens as drummers played tunes for Alabama before doing the same when Georgia arrived about 90 minutes later.

Even for a playoff regular like Alabama, this was a different routine.

“It’s been pretty cold in Tuscaloosa the last day or two but not this cold,” Saban said. “I told them to be ready for the cold. Our guys are not used to it. Fortunately, we won’t be playing in it, so I told them to get used to it from the plane to the bus.”

Read more

2 p.m., Friday

University of Georgia fans announced their travel plans at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. (AP photo)

Indianapolis has hosted a Super Bowl, the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just last year and too many other championship events to count. It’s also set to host the NBA All-Star game in 2024.

So why do local organizers of the College Football Playoff National Championship say Monday’s title game—and the fan events surrounding it—is so important to establishing the city as a place where big events shine?

Milt Thompson

Because football remains the top U.S. spectator sport in the United States. Because Indianapolis is the first cold-weather city to host this championship. Because more than a thousand journalists will be on site talking about Indianapolis to millions of fans on TV.

And, perhaps most important, because the competition to host mega events is ever increasing.

“There are no guarantees—there’s a lot of competition for these big events—but Indianapolis has done a nice job of putting some packages together,” said Milt Thompson, a local attorney at Bleeke Dillon Crandall and a consultant with Grand Slam Sports.

Read more

12:39 p.m, Friday

Ticket prices high for football title game, but lots of seats still available

Hundreds of tickets to Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship game in Indianapolis are available for purchase on the secondary market.

The tickets range from a get-in price of $300—in the upper tier of Lucas Oil Stadium’s seating arrangement—to more than $11,000 for a premium location, according to listings on Ticketmaster and Stubhub, along with local ticket brokerage sites like Circle City Tickets.

Those ticket prices generally have a two-ticket minimum and don’t include fees, taxes or parking passes, either, meaning purchasers will have to fork over even more to attend the game.

Read more

4 p.m., Thursday

Drone light shows will take flight near Lucas Oil Stadium

In the realm of superlatives, Monday’s championship game will be accompanied by what’s being billed as the “World’s Largest Scoreboard.”

Fans won’t find this scoreboard inside Lucas Oil Stadium when the universities of Alabama and Georgia battle for the College Football Playoff national title. Instead, 500 illuminated drones will fly outside at halftime and after the third quarter to display team logos and the score.

Organizers say the show will be visible as far away as the Indianapolis International Airport eight miles from downtown. Indianapolis-based creative agency Innovative and Philadelphia-based drone show company Verge Aero are collaborating to design and program the display.

Before Monday night, the drones will warm up with five-minute shows portraying team helmets, mascots and fireworks at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The drones are scheduled to take off from Pan Am Plaza, and the visuals will be used by ESPN during its pre-game broadcast.

Using GPS technology, the drones will fly in synchronized patterns above the Indiana Convention Center.

3:50 p.m., Thursday

Indianapolis musicians to entertain airport travelers

Five afternoons of live music are scheduled at Indianapolis International Airport to provide a soundtrack for visitors as they arrive for the championship game and depart afterward.

The airport’s Civic Plaza will host the following Indianapolis artists from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.

Friday: Pop singer Emma Peridot.

Saturday: Singer-songwriter Keith Beatty.

Sunday: Synthpop duo Manners, Please.

Monday: Rock band Kristen.

Tuesday: Singer-songwriter the Girl Called Books.

DJ Don Masters will perform two 60-minute sets each day: 1-2 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.

Synthpop duo Manners, Please

3:30 p.m., Thursday

Busta Rhymes and Dirty Heads to perform at Pan Am Pavilion

Doja Cat, Twenty One Pilots and Sam Hunt aren’t the only high-profile concert attractions coming to Indianapolis to celebrate the crescendo of the college football season.

Rapper Busta Rhymes and reggae-rock band Dirty Heads are scheduled to perform at Pan Am Pavilion, 201 S. Capitol Ave.

Tickets for the Dirty Heads show, scheduled 8 p.m. Saturday, are available for $40. Visit eventbrite.com for more information.

Tickets for the Busta Rhymes show, scheduled 8 p.m. Sunday, are available for $35 to $80. Visit eventbrite.com for more information.

The concerts will be presented as part of a “Caesars Sportsbook Championship Parlay Weekend,” that includes afternoon parties on Saturday and Sunday and a game-day party on Monday. For more information, visit eventbrite.com.

Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes

Noon, Thursday

Take a gander at the football championship trophy

Those who want to get an up-close look at the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy will have a few chances to do so over the next two days.

The trophy will be on display at the Westfield and Southport Road Meijer stores from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, respectively. The trophy will also be on display throughout championship weekend’s Playoff Fan Central event at the Indiana Convention Center.

Charley Green, one of the trophy’s caretakers, told IBJ the events are free to the public and present an opportunity for people to take photos with the 35-pound, gold-plated prize.

The trophy consists of two pieces, a large, bronze base and the stainless-steel trophy with the 24-karat gold encasing.

Green’s company, Breakaway Sports Marketing, works directly with the CFP and the trophy’s presenting sponsor, Dr. Pepper, to take the trophy on tour throughout the college football season.

Those interested in seeing the trophy will not be permitted to touch it, Green said. In fact, the only people who are allowed to hold the trophy without gloves are CFP executive director Bill Hancock and the members of the winning team, following the national championship.

5:30 p.m., Wednesday

Giant 2022 sign with CFP logo erected on Circle

A huge “2022” sign (or maybe sculpture) with the College Football Playoff logo as the 0—has been erected on the south side of Monument Circle, creating a selfie spot in the lead up to college football’s title game on Monday.

The 15-foot-tall metal structure was assembled throughout Wednesday afternoon, over a span of about three hours.

Brian Murphy is vice president of events for Infinite Scale, the Salt Lake City-based firm that oversees signage for the CFP. The company, which also has a satellite office in Cincinnati, is owned by Santa Clara, California-based company Elevate Sport Ventures.

“Monument Circle being such a centerpiece of Indianapolis is a super special location for this year’s game numerals,” Murphy said. “With the concert on the north side of the Monument, the numerals are just a great way to greet people to definitely let them know where they are and what’s happening.”

Infinite Scale also produced the graphics and other identifiers used on Lucas Oil Stadium for the game, along with the design of the JW Marriott signage. It also developed a style guide for other organizations, such as the Indianapolis Host Committee to license the College Football Playoff branding to create their own signage.

“We are responsible for the brand overlay of the entire event—basically putting that graphic skin and setting the stage for the student athletes to be welcomed to town along with fans,” he said.

The numerals first made their appearance during the 2016 championship in Phoenix and have been used each year since, with the final one or two digits fabricated as-needed for each title game.

The installation of the structure was one of several activities on Monument Circle on Wednesday, along with the continued buildout of the stage for musical performances over the weekend and ancillary lighting and way-finding.

Workers install numerals celebrating the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship on Monument Circle on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

5 p.m., Wednesday

‘Wipeout’ balls to be displayed in Fountain Square

It’s a time-honored tradition for movies and television shows to try to drum up viewership in conjunction with large sporting events.

This week’s example is “Wipeout,” the comedic competition show in which participants are pitted against an over-the-top obstacle course.

“Wipeout’s” new season will launch Jan. 11 on TBS, and the show is sending its trademark big red balls to Indianapolis in advance of the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The balls will be displayed—but won’t be available to bound across—Friday through Monday in the heart of Fountain Square. Free meatballs will be served from an on-site food truck at night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and during the day on Monday.

The big red balls from the TV show “Wipeout” will be transported out of the water for a visit to landlocked Fountain Square. (Photo provided by TBS)

10:50 a.m., Wednesday

Hard Truth Distilling Co. unveils signature drinks for Alabama, Georgia

If fans are looking for a beverage with more kick than prevalent college football sponsor Dr. Pepper, Brown County-based Hard Truth Distilling Co. will begin selling cocktails customized for championship combatants Alabama and Georgia this weekend.

For the University of Alabama, it’s “The Crimson Cran” featuring Hard Truth vodka and cranberry juice. For the University of Georgia, it’s “Bulldawg Beer” featuring Hard Truth rum and a popular beer made by Hard Truth’s sister company Quaff On!: Six Foot Strawberry Blonde American Blonde Ale.

The cocktails will be sold at Hard Truth’s kiosk bar at the Bottleworks Garage, 850 Massachusetts Ave., for $12 each.

At left: the “Crimson Cran.” At right: “Bulldawg Beer.” (Photos provided by Hard Truth)

10:25 a.m., Wednesday

Stage construction under way on Monument Circle

Workers have been constructing a stage on the north side of Monument Circle since Monday in preparation for concerts Saturday, Sunday and Monday in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Photographer Chad Williams caught the action on Wednesday.

12:45 p.m., Tuesday

Author John Green, IndyCar’s Graham Rahal among those responding to dis of Indianapolis

After an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story ripped Indianapolis as too cold to host the championship, Indy residents took to social media to defend the Circle City. Here are a few examples:

11:40 a.m., Tuesday

CFP leader doubles down on Indy as championship city

The executive director of the College Football Playoff doubled down on the group’s decision to host this year’s national championship in Indianapolis, a reaction to grumbling from an Atlanta-based sportswriter about frigid temperatures and high ticket prices.

A reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a piece published Jan. 3, cited the forecast highs and lows for Indianapolis for the upcoming week and the possibility of snow showers, while adding—without citing sources—that some fans are electing to stay in Louisville because of cheaper hotels and “more to do.”

But Bill Hancock, who heads the CFP and previously helmed the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, said hosting this year’s championship in Indianapolis was “a very good decision.” He added that when Atlanta hosted the title game—also between the universities of Georgia and Alabama—in 2018, the pre-kickoff high was about 38 degrees, with ice and rain earlier in the day.

“There is no reason that college football should only belong to a certain section of the country,” Hancock said. “We know that, and we were very proud to bring the game here to Indianapolis. And I would say to the Atlanta person, that maybe he or she wasn’t around Atlanta when our championship game happened, or has a short memory about how cold it was there that week. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. But if I’m not … so be it.”

-Mickey Shuey

11:35 a.m., Tuesday

Testing, masks encouraged, but not required for college football title game

Fans attending the College Football Playoff National Championship in Indianapolis will not be required to wear masks, but will be strongly encouraged to do so, the county’s top health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Virginia Caine, executive director of the Marion County Public Health Department, told reporters that fans are being asked to wear masks, be vaccinated and take a COVID-19 test about 72 hours prior to Monday night’s kickoff to ensure they are negative for the virus.

However, proof of either vaccination or a negative test will not be required for entry into Lucas Oil Stadium or any of the various fan events planned throughout the weekend. And while masking indoors is being stressed upon, stadium officials will not be enforcing any mandates.

Read more.

10:22 p.m., Monday

Delta adds 3 one-time, nonstop flights to Indy for college football title game

Delta Air Lines has added three one-time, nonstop flights to Indianapolis from the southern United States specifically for the College Football National Playoff Championship.

Indianapolis International Airport officials announced Monday that the airline would offer service from Savannah, Georgia, and Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. Flights are scheduled to depart for Indianapolis on Jan. 8 and return Jan. 11, the day after the game.

Read more.

2:58 p.m., Monday

Aerial dancers on side of Salesforce Tower added to national championship festivities

An aerial dance group that will perform on the side of Salesforce Tower and local band Huckleberry Funk are the latest additions to the entertainment lineup planned for Monument Circle this weekend, where a concert stage took shape Monday, a week before the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Leading up to the Jan. 10 game featuring the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia at Lucas Oil Stadium, free concerts starring rapper Doja Cat, rock duo Twenty One Pilots and country-pop singer Sam Hunt will be presented on the north side of the Circle.

Newly added to the Jan. 8-9 shows is aerial dance group Bandaloop. Six dancers from the California-based Bandaloop troupe will perform on the side of Salesforce Tower before each night’s headlining musicians.

Read more.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

6 thoughts on “Championship updates: More than 68,000 attend college football title game

    1. Just like the hundreds of people who stay in Indy for the kentucky Derby…. 1/10 the hotel prices and much less busy that weekend

  1. The forecast calls for a high temperature of 22 and a low of 11 on Monday. Hotel rooms are going from $700.00 to $3,000.00 a night in the downtown area. Can all you triggered people explained to me what he got wrong?

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}