CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: Celebrity Hangouts

It is settled science. Major sports events have a unique magnetic effect. They attract celebrities the way that Star Wars films attract sequels.  At heart, celebrities are just like the rest of us. They can’t wait to see how the best athletes perform on the biggest stages.

Rest assured, then, that numerous glitterati will show up at Levi’s® Stadium on January 7 and at events surrounding the game during Championship Weekend in the Bay Area. Last year in Atlanta, actor Samuel L. Jackson and singer Zac Brown were part of the crowd. So were rapper Kendrick Lamar and pro wrestling legend Ric Flair. And that was even before President Donald Trump showed up for the pregame coin toss.

It makes a person wonder. Which beautiful people and well-known personalities will be part of the CFP National Championship landscape in early January? And where will be the best places to spot them? Answer: It depends on several factors, including the teams that eventually reach the title game. 

Example? If Notre Dame is involved, you can bet that Regis Philbin, a Fighting Irish alum, will find a way to get there. Television actress Sela Ward is a former Alabama cheerleader. Wouldn’t she want to fly in for the game? Will Ferrell, who worked for the USC athletic department as an undergraduate, is a well-known college football fan. Maybe he’ll decide to drive up the coast if the matchup appeals to him.

Famous athletes also gravitate to see other athletes, which is why NFL names such as Terrell Owens and Matthew Stafford attended the 2018 game between Alabama and Georgia. Additionally, any athletes or entertainers who have endorsement relationships with Silicon Valley companies may end up being coaxed by their sponsors into corporate gatherings or tailgate parties.

And where else will those celebs hang out? Simple rule. Follow the limousines.

It’s likely that some of the famous folks will stay in San Francisco during CFP National Championship weekend. But many ESPN talent will all be staying in downtown San Jose for more convenient access to the network’s broadcasting positions in Chavez Plaza, Discovery Meadow and at Levi’s® Stadium.

Away from the organized parties, the usual hot spots and clubs will prevail, in both San Francisco and the South Bay. After Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s® Stadium a few years ago, anthem singer Lady Gaga and halftime performers Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay all celebrated at downtown San Jose’s SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant.  Not so long ago, the same establishment hosted a private gathering by Oprah Winfrey.

At the game itself, if you have binoculars, you can probably scan the luxury suites during timeouts for well-known faces.  But don’t gawk. That isn’t cool. You should gaze briefly and then go back to watching the action on the field. That’s what the celebs will be doing.