SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Crews worked throughout the day Thursday on the finishing touches of what’s being dubbed “Championship Campus,” the stretch of downtown San Jose that will entertain thousands of college football fans expected to arrive this weekend as Clemson and Alabama get ready to face off Monday night at Levi’s Stadium.
One of the highlights of the weekend long events is inside the San Jose McEnery Convention Center called Playoff Fan Central.
The 300,000 square foot facility has been transformed into an interactive college football playoff experience for fans.
“This is all interactive,” said Playoff Fan Central senior media strategist Elon Werner. “You can touch and feel a lot of elements of college football playoffs.”
Once inside Playoff Fan Central, fans will be able test their sporting abilities as well as meet football players, including Ricky Waters and Raghib “Rocket” Ismail.
The events ahead of Monday night’s game against the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide have been in the works for more than three years after Santa Clara learned it was chosen to host the Championship game.
In less than 12 hours, nearly 100,000 college football fans are expected to trickle into San Jose, making it a bigger economic boost for the South Bay than the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.
“We made a conscious decision to keep the core of the events in San Jose, Santa Clara in the South Bay area,” said College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. “We love this area and we want to expose it to people.”
But SB Nation released an article calling Levi’s Stadium the “worst national championship venue available.” The article also referred to the turf as “cursed,” and the stadium atmosphere “non-existent.”
“This is a world class facility and one of the great opportunities for young people who get to play in this game,” he said.
He said he hadn’t read the article but he didn’t agree with what was said.
“I normally don’t comment when people ask me about other people’s reporting but, if that’s what they reported, they’re wrong,” Hancock said.
Playoff Fan Central opens on Friday at noon. It is free to Bay Area residents with an ID on Friday. Kids 12-years-old and younger are always free. The facility opens on Saturday and Sunday at 10am, and closes everyday at 6pm in time for the free concerts every night at Discovery Meadows.