Frogs in the Natty
The Houston TCU fans' guide to tailgating, parking, and parties at the CFP National Championship in L.A.
Thousands of TCU fans — many from the Houston area — will descend on the City of Angels this weekend to witness the Horned Frogs play No. 1 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The game itself is at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Monday, January 9 (4:30 pm Pacific, 6:30 pm Central). As Dallas-Fort Worth fans scurry to secure flights, hotel accommodations, transportation, and those pricey tickets, details on the many festivities leading up the game may have been missed.
Here’s a quick overview of fan-friendly events happening all weekend long, including tips on parking, tailgating (is there tailgating?), maps, and more. Staying home for the game? Head over to Fort Worth for the 12 best watch parties at local bars and restaurants.
SoFi Stadium Quick Facts
The elaborate SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is the centerpiece of a district called Hollywood Park, a 300-acre sports and entertainment destination located in Inglewood, California. It’s the home of the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angele Rams NFL teams. Fun fact: the stadium is slated to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics. It can seat up to 100,000 people with expandable seating and is the largest stadium in the NFL.
At 70,000 square feet, SoFi’s Infinity Screen is the largest videoboard ever created in sports. It’s 120 yards long and holds about 2.2 million pounds of digital LED. It’ the only dual-sided, center-hung videoboard in the world. No matter where your seats are, you won’t miss one play.
Parking at SoFi for the National Championship
Parking is extremely limited with digital permits available for purchase only in advance for on-site and off-site lots. Stadium parking lots will open at 10 am and will remain open for two hours after the end of the game. Here’s a map for reference.
Another option is Inglewood Park & Go – remote parking with shuttle service that runs every 15 minutes. A bus rideshare service called Rally will also provide roundtrip transportation to the game from various districts around the Los Angeles area. A minimum number of riders is required.
To be clear, tailgating is prohibited for this game, so leave the coolers tents behind. (Apparently this is a College Football Playoff rule for the National Championship, not a rule of SoFi Stadium or California in general.)
But there is an official tailgate hosted by the College Football Playoff. Called the Allstate Championship Tailgate, the free event is open to all ticket holders. Running from 10 am-4 pm on game day January 9, the sponsored tailgate will be held in lots B and C outside SoFi Stadium. It will feature interactive games, sponsor activations, concessions, live broadcasts by ESPN, and performances by both TCU and Georgia marching bands. There’ll also be live concerts by Kelsea Ballerini and Yiera Kennedy.
TCU is also hosting a tailgate, but tickets are already sold out.
Playoff Fan Central
This three-day, family-friendly event, which runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am-6 pm daily, is free to attend and will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center South Hall. Go for games, clinics, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph sessions, and exhibits celebrating the history of college football. Note that TCU star running back and NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson will appear on Sunday at 11 am for a live podcast recording for "Always College Football" with football commentator Greg McElroy. Here’s the full schedule of appearances.
Extra Yard 5K
Looking to burn a few calories before the big game? Sign up for the College Football Playoff’s family-friendly 5K race (that’s 3.1 miles) to held at 8 am on Sunday in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Each participant will receive a t-shirt and a finisher medal. Registration is $50, or $40 for teachers and educators. Proceeds will benefit the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative. Registration ends Saturday night at midnight.
Taste of the Championship
If you don’t want to mess with dinner reservations and still get an exclusive taste of everything delicious Los Angeles has to offer, buy tickets for Taste of the Championship, happening 4-7 pm Sunday at a chic LA event space called Hudson Loft. The fundraiser event will feature gourmet food and drinks be prepared and served by local chefs via meet-and-greet stations. Proceeds from the $300 ticket will benefit the College Football Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative.
Other good things to know
- Only clear bags are allowed inside SoFi Stadium and they should not be bigger than 12” x 6” x 12”. Small clutch purses are permitted, but they can’t exceed 4” x 6”.
- There’s also a College Football Playoff app for those who want to keep updated with breaking news and game updates.