Red Bull Arena will host its first gridiron football game this year.
The City of Newark and event planner KBS Sports Strategies will host the inaugural Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic, with Grambling State University and Hampton University playing at the soccer-specific stadium on Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. ET., it was announced Monday.
The Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic is a celebration of the culture and excellence of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Classic is designed to increase awareness of HBCU’s while also having a direct impact on the City of Newark through the awarding of scholarships, strengthened partnerships, and local economic development.
“Hampton University is appreciative of the invite to participate in the inaugural Brick City Classic and the opportunity to face another legendary HBCU program, Grambling State University. This will be a great weekend for our alums in the New York/ New Jersey area to be a part of a prestigious HBCU classic, reconnect with fellow Hamptonians, and support our football team over the Labor Day Weekend,” Hampton University president Darrell K. Williams said in a statement.
The Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic renews a popular rivalry between two teams that are able to boast of Hall of Fame coaches – Eddie Robinson of GSU and Joe Taylor of HU. Always highly competitive contests, Hampton University and Grambling State University have faced off on the gridiron seven times with Hampton having won six of those match-ups with an average attendance of 46,000. The top five most highly attended HBCU Classics played in New Jersey all feature these two teams with three of the games against each other drawing better than 58,000 fans.
“We are extremely excited to bring Hampton Football back to New Jersey and the Tri-State area for this game against the Grambling State Tigers. Having participated in this long-standing rivalry in the late 1990’s I know the great history and tradition accompanying this match-up. This game provides us with a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with Hampton alumni, supporters, and friends and will allow our world-class university to recruit future Pirates to Our Home by the Sea,” Hampton University athletic director Anthony Henderson, Sr. said in a statement.
Grambling State University athletic director, Dr. Trayvean Scott added, “We are excited about the opportunity to compete against Hampton University in the Inaugural Brick City Classic. The history between Grambling State University and the tri-state area goes back many years and has left its mark on HBCU football. This is an opportunity for our alumni and new generation of #Gramfam football fans to be involved in such a historic game”.
The Colonial Athletic Association’s Hampton University and Southwest Athletic Conference’s Grambling State University both look to have breakout years in 2023.