HAMPTON — Hampton University will kick off its 2023 football campaign with a matchup against Grambling State in the inaugural Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic.
HU and Grambling will be the first college football teams to play in Red Bull Arena — home of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey. The game will be played Sept. 2 and kick off at 3 p.m.
“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,” Hampton athletic director Anthony Henderson said in a release. “Having participated in this long-standing rivalry in the late 1990s 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 and Grambling State haven’t played since 2006, but the Pirates have won six of the seven total meetings between the schools.
According to release the average attendance of those matchups is 46,000 fans — and the top-five most attended games in The Brick City Classic’s history have featured either Hampton or Grambling State.
“Our players, coaches, fans, and alumni are excited to play in the Brick City Classic against Grambling State University at Red Bull Arena,” Hampton head coach Roberty Prunty said in a release. “We know it will be a great atmosphere, and we know it will be a great game with two of the best brands in HBCU football being able to match up — two very explosive teams. I have a lot of respect for Coach Hue Jackson and the way he does things. You see the growth, you see the explosiveness from his group, and we know it’s going to be a heck of a matchup.”
The Brick City Classic is hosted by the City of Newark as well as KBS Sports Strategies. The Classic is intended to be a celebration of HBCU culture and excellence while also benefiting Newark though scholarships and economic development.
“The Classic will promote pathways to STEM and media career possibilities while also providing resources for financial literacy and wellness,” Kris Smith, CEO of KBS Sports Strategies said in a release. “Also, to be able to highlight these two world-class institutions and the missions of all HBCUs, being able to share that and incorporate that into a community that is full of promise and talented students, while also lessening their financial burden through scholarships, is what this is all about.”