In the Southeast, it’s no secret that college football is king, tailgating is religion, and gameday is the most important day of the week. So it’s no surprise that when the College Football Hall of Fame (CFB Hall) decided to take its talents to a bigger stage, it chose Atlanta, Ga.

“It’s the perfect location for a college football-themed attraction,” says Atlanta Hall Management CEO John Stephenson.

College Football Hall of Fame
The new CFB Hall is located in the heart of the bustling tourism and business district of Atlanta. 

Atlanta is home to all things football—the Atlanta Falcons, the SEC Championship, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, thousands of diehard college football fans and, of course Coca-Cola, an essential part of every football celebration. All things considered, Stephenson says adding the Hall of Fame — which officially opened in August — to the list “just made sense.”

Touchdown 'Hotlanta'

The big move from South Bend, Ind. to Atlanta also made sense for reasons off the gridiron.

“In South Bend there was a lot of history, especially around Notre Dame. But it’s hard to get there,” explains Stephenson. “That’s not the case in Atlanta.”

Home to the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta is easily accessible. The thriving business metropolis is also home to marquee tourist destinations like the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke and the new Center for Civil and Human Rights — all located a short walk from the Hall in downtown's Pemberton Place. Stephenson says the goal when building the Hall was to match the quality of these surrounding attractions.

“We don’t want to be a museum that only intense college football fans enjoy,” he says. “If you’re a football fan you’re going to love it, if you’re not a football fan you’re still going to have a good time."

CF Hall of Fame
Fans take a look back at Coca-Cola's rich and long standing history with college football at the Coca-Cola Fan's Game Day exhibit. 

Creating a facility everyone could enjoy meant teaming up with the right sponsors. Renamed “The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience,” the extended title is more than just a mouthful. The name emphasizes the importance of providing the ultimate “fan experience” through the support of major sponsors including Chick-fil-A and Coca-Cola.

“People are losing their minds. It’s so different than what they expect,” says Stephenson. “They hear ‘hall of fame’ and think a museum with busts and plaques and instead… they get this,” he says, looking around at the endless array of interactive stations. 

The Ultimate Fan Experience

The College Football Hall of Fame is 94,000 square feet of pure awesomeness. Upon entering, fans are greeted by a three-story wall donning 768 mounted college football helmets—one for each college football team in the nation.

College Football Hall of Fame
When fans walk up to the helmet wall their team automatically lights up, making it easier to find in a sea of over 700 helmets.

The Hall spans three floors and is divided into multiple highly engaging exhibits. Guests interact with the displays using a personalized All-Access Pass credential registered with their favorite team. The displays automatically scan the passes as fans walk up, offering a truly customized experience.

College Football Hall of Fame
Guests of all ages can test out their football skills at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone.

The floor-by-floor play by play is rather simple. The first floor is equipped with an indoor football field where fans can test their football skills and vendors can host gatherings after hours. The second floor is where the ultimate interactive fan experience begins with several state-of-the-art multimedia fan exhibits. And last but certainly not least is the third floor, designated to the Hall of Fame.  

College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame showcases the stories and accomplishments of players who broke records and won our hearts. Fans can learn about their favorite Hall of Famers in one of the 10 augmented reality displays.

But let’s go back to the second floor—home to the Coca-Cola Fan's Game Day exhibit. 

The Coca-Cola Connection

“What is unique about Coca-Cola and our products is that we are always there… from the fan at home, to the stadium vendor, to the family setting up their tailgate, it’s impossible to find a moment where Coca-Cola doesn’t play a role,” says Sharon Byers, VP of marketing assets at Coca-Cola.

College Football Hall of Fame
"From the pictures of the concessions stand in the 1940s to the coolers at the tailgate exhibit, we hope that fans can see, touch and feel how Coca-Cola has been there supporting their football passion for decades," Byers.

Partnering with the College Football Hall of Fame was a natural way to make this connection come to life. “Coca-Cola Fan’s Game Day showcases everything that is fun and exciting about College Football with fans as the centerpiece,” says Byers. The section includes a blend of historical artifacts like a display of National Championship team Coke bottles to modern-day crowd pleasers. In the Coca-Cola Fan's Game Day gallery fans can sing their favorite team's fight song in a karaoke challenge, test their on-air broadcasting chops at a replica of the ESPN College GameDay desk and get their face painted- digitally. 

CF Hall of Fame
At the ESPN College GameDay Desk Built by The Home Depot fans virtually join ESPN analysts Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard to announce their game day pick of the week. 

“For Coke to support the project and then to have [Coke] intertwined in our exhibitory like this makes it all authentic,” says Stephenson. “As a native Atlantan, I know you can’t do anything in Atlanta without Coca-Cola. To have Coke involved was paramount. It wouldn’t have happen without them,” he adds.

CF Hall of Fame
Vintage National Championship Coca-Cola bottles.

It’s safe to say Coke and College Football are synonymous in many ways, especially when it comes to winning over fans. But what makes each one even better, is when they do so together.

The 2015 class of inductees will be announced Friday Jan. 9 before the National Championship game Jan. 12. in Arlington, Tex. 

Plan your visit to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience here.