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NFF Celebrates Hall’s First Anniversary in Atlanta
State-of-the-Art facility has exceeded expectations, garnering universal acclaim and numerous marquee events.
Published: 8/23/2015 10:00:00 AM

State-of-the-Art facility has exceeded expectations, garnering universal acclaim and numerous marquee events.

 IRVING, Texas (Aug. 23, 2015) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame highlighted today the first anniversary of the opening of the new College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in Atlanta, which opened on Aug. 23, 2014 to rave reviews and widespread praise.

“We knew that downtown Atlanta offered the perfect setting for the new Hall, and the city, as well as people from all over the country, have embraced our new home in Atlanta as a major epicenter for college football,” said Archie Manning, the chairman of the NFF, which launched the Hall in 1951 and partnered with the city of Atlanta to raise the money and open the new Hall in 2014. “We knew we had something special in the proposal and planning stages, and it has been even better in reality.”

The attraction offers a total “Fan Experience” matching traditional, museum-quality memorabilia with interactive, multimedia exhibits that invite fans and visitors to engage with their favorite college football team or Hall of Famer. All 773 U.S. colleges and universities with football teams are represented on the three-story helmet wall, which greets visitors as they enter the Hall’s Quad. After fans register, they receive an RFID-enabled badge, and their school’s helmet lights up. As fans explore the rest of the building, the RFID badge continues to pull and display information about their school throughout their tour.

“We could not be more pleased with the reaction from fans who have traveled from all over the country to visit the Hall and its unprecedented, unique entertainment experience,” said College Football Hall of Fame President & CEO John W. Stephenson Jr., who spearheaded the local effort to bring the Hall to Atlanta. “The Hall has written a new chapter for the home of college football in America, and we are grateful for the support from the National Football Foundation and our founding partners and official sponsors, without whom this project would not be possible.”

The Hall, built at a cost of approximately $68.5 million, measures 94,256 square feet, including 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 45-yard indoor football field. The Hall has hosted events, ranging from 150 to 3,500 guests. The Hall of Fame’s founding partners include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Coca-Cola and Kia. The Hall’s official sponsors are the Atlanta Falcons and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Brasfield & Gorrie, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, Invest Atlanta, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Piedmont Healthcare, Regions Bank, Southwest Airlines, Sporturf, Under Armour and UPS.

“The Hall has attracted people from all over the country, and it has been a wonderful showcase for our sport,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The events at the Hall have been off the charts, and we are extremely pleased with year one, which provides us a lot of momentum for year two. We have learned a lot, and we are excited to capitalize on the accomplishments of the past year in the coming months.”

Designed by tvsdesign, developed by Cousins Properties & IntegralGude and constructed by Brasfield & Gorrie with Benchmark Management, the state-of-the-art facility is located in downtown Atlanta in the heart of the city’s sports and entertainment district. Exhibit designers included Gallagher & Associates, Cortina Productions, Pacific Studio, Tomorrow Pictures and Obscura Digital. Stark RFID provided the radio-frequency interactive “all access passes” and antennas that enable the personalized content and user-generated takeaways. Schutt provided helmets for the iconic Helmet Wall.

Marquee moments in just the first 12 months have included: 

·       College Football Hall of Fame Dedication Gala Ceremony, which took place Oct. 7 and aired live on ESPNU, celebrating 12 Hall of Fame players and two Hall of Fame coaches.

·       Over 250 corporate, civic and private events.

·       Numerous college and high school football team visits.

·       Inaugural College Football Huddle Up Luncheon, featuring ESPN analysts Lee Corso and Rece Davis as they discussed the evolution of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot.

·       The MacArthur Bowl Trophy Presentation with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer accepting on behalf of his 2014 national championship team in front of more than 800 Buckeye fans.

·       National Signing Day 2015 at the Hall, which included more than 200 Georgia high school players announcing their college decisions.

·       An exclusive screening of ESPN's five-part series Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream, in the Hall’s 140-seat, ultra high-def theater, which was attended by Snoop Dogg.

·       ESPN's College Football Live broadcasting live from the indoor playing field in advance of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game featuring Ole Miss and Boise State.

·       Educator Day, which engaged teachers in the Hall’s T.E.A.M.S curriculum that utilizes the Hall’s content and the sport and business of football to teach lessons in technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and science.

·       Chick-fil-A Father Son Campout, which took place on the Hall’s 45-yard indoor playing field.

·       Father’s Day at the Hall, which provided free entry to all fathers.

·       Pac-12 Day, celebrating the schools and fans of the Pac-12 Conference.

·       University of Tennessee Day at the College Football Hall of Fame, hosted by Hall of Famers Steve Kiner (class of 1999) and Chip Kell (class of 2006), as well as the Big Orange Caravan bringing UT coaches to greet the fans.

·       The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps & The United States Army Drill Team Event, honoring both active-duty and retired military personnel.

·       A Naturalization Ceremony, where more than 200 dedicated men and women from 61 countries became U.S. Citizens.

Upcoming events include:

·       The Home Depot College Football Awards will air live on Dec. 10, 2015, from the Hall as part of a new multi-year agreement between ESPN and the Hall to annually host the event.

·       The 2015 Hall of Fame Golf Classic at East Lake Golf Club, home of the TOUR Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 24, with multiple Hall of Famers playing alongside college football fans and corporate sponsors.

Selected Testimonials:

“From performances, still photographs, video, surround sound, it’s a tremendous experience…everyone is represented here,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.

“As you go through here, you can get the information you want. You don’t have to search for it very long…It’s interactive, it engages you. You’re learning about history, but you’re doing it in a way that’s a kind of 21st century way,” said ESPN analyst and 1997 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Brian Griese from Michigan.

“I was so flabbergasted by this Hall, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it or because of college football. If you’re any fan of any sport—NFL, college football, basketball, baseball—this is the most interactive and the most current Hall of Fame that’s out there and the most fun. It’s just so refreshing to see something like this and it’s exciting,” said ESPN analyst and College Football Hall of Famer Mark May from Pittsburgh.

“It really is unbelievable to walk in and see the helmets of every school in the country. It makes you want to bring your wife and kids down here to see it. There is no doubt about it that when we play Georgia Tech that we’ll bring the entire team through here to see the history of college football,” said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.

“I walked in the door and saw 768 helmets on the wall, and when Grinnell College’s helmet was there, I was overcome with emotion to see that helmet represented with all the other great programs from across the country…. This is one of the most amazing fan experiences you can have. If you’re a college football fan, you must get to this building… In this building, you can experience that emotional rush of seeing your school, your state, your team, represented in a way that makes all of us proud on Saturday morning when it’s game day,” said Scott Raecker a former Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives and Grinnell College graduate.

“I know you’ve heard how innovative it is, but you’ve got to go and see it for yourself. I was amazed, I was surprised and I was happy,” said CBS Sports and NFL Network analyst and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders from Florida State.

“Let me tell you man, this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever been to in my whole life. This is the greatest thing ever man. College Football Hall of Fame…number one in my book,” said 16-time Grammy nominee and avid football fan Snoop Dogg.

“This is awesome. I’m so thankful that we chose to do this…I’m a college football fan myself and they just did a phenomenal job of really capturing the essence of college football here at the Hall. From the history of the game, to the tangible artifacts of the game, to all the modern technology, it’s really incredible. You could spend hours in here with all of the interactive pieces they have in place. To be honest with you, I’m kind of blown away by some of the technology they have in here and how it’s a personal experience for very person who walks through the door. It was a great trip and I wish I had a little more time, but I’ll be coming back,” said Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

“Growing up right here in the state of Georgia and to have [the Hall] right here in my back yard, it means so much to me…One day my kids will have kids, and my grandkids will come here and they’re going to see what their grandad did for a living and that’s pretty cool…The technology of this place, if you haven’t been here you’ve got to come. This place is awesome,” said College Football Hall of Famer Jessie Tuggle from Valdosta State (Ga.).

“I had heard so many great things about it, and to get an opportunity to come place like this, especially in the state of Georgia, I am impressed, and I have become a big fan. There are so many interactive things here that you can do, and to all the Georgia Bulldog nation, if you ever want to see the history of Georgia football, and not just the Hall of Famers, you need to come to the College Football Hall of Fame… I guarantee that you’re going to love it,” said College Football Hall of Famer and Georgia legend Herschel Walker.

“The new college hall of fame here in Atlanta is just amazing. It’s very interactive. It’s something that fans will really enjoy. Every college in American is represented on the helmet wall. It’s a fabulous way to experience the game, and it’s great to have it in Atlanta,” said Hines Ward, an All-SEC wide receiver at Georgia before playing for 14 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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