Hall President and CEO John W. Stephenson Jr. talked about the facility at the Buckhead Business Association’s weekly breakfast meeting at City Club of Buckhead.
“We’ll have plays from John Heisman’s original playbook scanned in and on display on an interactive monitor where visitors can check out his plays,” said Stephenson, referring to the legendary turn-of-the-20th-century coach for whom the coveted Heisman Trophy is named.
During his speech Stephenson showed blueprints of the hall, which is moving from South Bend, Ind. His presentation also included a five-minute video of what it would be like for a pedestrian to tour the entire facility.
According to its website, the hall will have 94,256 square feet, including 30,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 45-yard indoor football field that doubles as an event space.
“You can look up Hall of Famers by year, school or name [on flat-screen computers],” Stephenson said. “You can see each player’s highlights, interviews, etc. It’s a totally different way to do things. We shopped this around with lots of Hall of Famers. They all said, to a man, this is great. You can actually see and hear me. We can stuff these things full of content as much as it will allow us. You can be a college football fan and spend all day here and not feel full.”
Stephenson said the hall will have 1,400 artifacts at its disposal, but only 400 will be on display each day and will be rotated in to keep the venue fresh.
Stephenson said the Chick-fil-A Bowl as one of the six bowls selected by the NCAA to host the national championship semifinals, and possibly the title game, in future years will help bring visitors to the hall.
“It’s a big deal for Atlanta,” he said.
Stephenson said the hall will “appeal to all college football fans.”
“Yes, this is the heart of SEC and ACC country, but we are the national College Football Hall of Fame,” he said. “When you enter, you will register as a fan of a certain school. If you’re an Ohio State fan, it will tell you how many Ohio State fans are there. There are 14 opportunities to get Ohio State-specific stuff [while visiting the hall]. If that weirds you out, don’t register. But there are chances to get a unique experience.”
In response to a woman’s question about the types of visitors the hall would get, Stephenson said, “You’ll have people come here just for this facility. Eighty-nine thousand to 90,000 came [each year] when it was in South Bend,” he said, adding tickets will cost $17.50 per person.
Though it does not open for another year, the hall will host its 2013 inductee enshrinement ceremony next door at the Omni Hotel Aug. 28. Twenty-four former players and coaches are in this year’s class. Tickets are $200 and are available through Aug. 21.