Reid Sigmon (far left) talks with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (right) during a College Football Playoff Selection Committee meeting earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Reid Sigmon.

CFO of the CFP

For Reid Sigmon to leave a position where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of a major Division I athletic department, the opportunity had to be amazing.

Becoming a key member in the new playoff system that determines college football’s national champion certainly qualifies. Sigmon (MBA ’03) is the Chief Financial Officer of the College Football Playoff (CFP), which has been an incredible success since its debut last year.

The CFP replaced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which was in place for 16 years as college football’s championship producer. The combination of polls and computer selection methods made the BCS a target when the nation’s top two teams weren’t easily identifiable.

The CFP has eased those concerns. Instead of giving only two teams a shot at the national championship, the CFP includes four teams which play in national semifinals before advancing to the national championship game. Also, computer formulas and polls have been discarded and replaced by a 12-member selection committee that ranks the top 25 teams.

The result? Last year’s national semifinals and national championship game were the three most-viewed programs in cable television history. And over a million viewers are tuned to ESPN each Tuesday night to see which teams are in the playoff mix.

“We could not have asked a lot more from the first year,” Sigmon said. “It’s been interesting to watch. We’re generating conversations on a night when college football is not historically been top of mind.”

Sigmon’s duties as CFO are both vital and incredibly diverse. He oversees the CFP’s accounting, human resources and information technology divisions, as well as has responsibility on the revenue side with ticketing, licensing and sponsorships. As the CFP draws nearer, he plays a role in operational matters, relying on years of experience hosting events such as the Super Bowl and the NCAA Basketball’s Final Four.

Prior to joining the CFP in February 2013, Sigmon, 41, was the Senior Associate Athletics Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas State University Athletic Department. He managed the department’s financial, contractual and legal matters, human resources and IT, and played an essential role in its strategic planning and managed the external operations of ticket sales and operations, licensing, and marketing. While happy with his position at Kansas State, he was more than intrigued by the CFP.

“It was an opportunity to help build something from the ground up,” Sigmon said. “From putting the staff together, to office space, to writing our policies and procedures—all those things you do in a startup business. It’s really exciting to be creating this change for postseason college football.”

Helping organize massive sports-related operations is nothing new to Sigmon. He played important roles on the host committees of three of the last five Super Bowls played in Florida. He was the Executive Director of Tampa’s Super Bowl Host Committee for Super Bowl XLIII, Vice President of Operations for Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville and Director of Operations for Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

“Those were great opportunities,” Sigmon said. “You’re involved in all sorts of different areas—transportation, security, recruiting and training 6,000 volunteers, community outreach, media. You get to interact with all aspects of the community. The downside is those jobs have end dates.”

Sigmon credits his success in managing these large and complex projects to his time at UF MBA. He said he wouldn’t be in his current position without it.

“It was a great two years at UF,” Sigmon said. “The projects are team-based so you’re constantly working together. It teaches you how to approach problems and establish a framework for decisions. It gave me the tools I needed to grow in all areas.”