Red Bull Arena

Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic with Grambling State University and Hampton University Set for September 2 at Red Bull Arena


NEWARK, NJ (April 24, 2023)- 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 on September 2, 2023, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ at 3:00 PM ET.

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,” said Hampton University President Darrell K. Williams.


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,” said Hampton University Athletic Director Anthony Henderson, Sr.

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.  HU’s Robert Prunty and GSU’s Hue Jackson will have both teams primed and ready to compete.

"Our players, coaches, fans, and alumni are excited to play in the Brick City Classic against Grambling State University at Red Bull Arena. 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," said Hampton’s Head Coach Robert Prunty.


"We’re extremely excited to play in the Brick City Classic against the Hampton Pirates to start our season. We’re looking forward to going on the road traveling to Newark, New Jersey and playing this game.  Let’s Go GramFam." – said GSU head Football Coach Hue Jackson.

“The Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic is the perfect way to enjoy your Labor Day weekend,” said Kris Smith, CEO of KBS Sports Strategies. “We are working with the City of Newark and Essex County to provide meaningful activations throughout the community. The Classic will promote pathways to STEM and media career possibilities while also providing resources for financial literacy and wellness.  Also, to be able to highlight these two world-class institutions and the missions of all HBCU’s, 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.”

"Red Bull Arena is proud to host our venue's first American football game featuring two storied universities, Grambling State and Hampton," said Marc de Grandpré, General Manager, New York Red Bulls. "We consider it a true privilege to host the inaugural Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic.  As we continue to expand and diversify our sports and entertainment event offerings, having college football played in Harrison, NJ this September will be very exciting for all gridiron fans in our area."

Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, will proudly host international sporting events this summer that include a Premier League matchup between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Newcastle United, Gold Cup group stage matches and the Rugby Sevens event.


Since 2010, Red Bull Arena has hosted some of the top soccer clubs in the world including FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Manchester United, Manchester City FC, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, SL Benfica, Club America, Paris Saint Germain, AS Roma and Juventus as well as international squads including the United States Men’s and Women’s National Teams, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Czech Republic and Turkey.

Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster on April 24. For suite information email Red Bull Arena at Additional information on tickets and Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic events can be found at

About KBS Sports Strategies

Founded in 2019, KBS Sports Strategies opens doors to effective collaboration with the goal of strengthening the foundation of our communities through sports. KBS recognizes that empowering sports organizations and non-profits is key to strengthening communities. Drawing on our collective leadership and experience, KBS gives organizations and non-profits the ability to collaborate effectively, both internally and externally, creating a dynamic that results in a “win-win” for both organizations and communities.