HBCU Football Game Marks the Start of College Football Season

ATLANTA – (July 21, 2022)The ATL Airport District is proud to sponsor the 2022 Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off, an annual football game showcasing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Owned and operated by ESPN Events, the 2022 game will again open the college football season in “Week 0,” as the Alabama State University Hornets face the Howard University Bison at Atlanta’s Center Parc Stadium. This exciting matchup will be televised live on ESPN on Saturday, August 27, at 7 p.m., providing a national audience for both HBCU programs and conferences.

“The District is beyond excited to support the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff another year! John Grant and his team have brought the energy of this beloved sport back to the mecca of college football,” said Cookie Smoak, president of the ATL Airport District. “We are excited to see these young players do something they love while showcasing HBCU pride!”

The Coca-Cola Fan Experience, happening during Saturday’s pregame, will include a band jamboree performance by the “Showtime” Marching Band and the “Mighty” Marching Hornets, followed by a main stage performance by Alabama State alumnus 2 Chainz.

“We are proud to once again have the ATL Airport District’s support for the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off,” said executive director John Grant. “This game will mark a turning point in how we represent HBCUs from across the country who travel to Atlanta for this year’s game, and we will set the stage to let young people know that they are our valued resource. They are the treasure we are to develop, nurture and protect.”

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge debuted as a Labor Day Weekend event in 2005 at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala, where it remained for three years before moving to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., from 2008 to 2015. The game was hosted on campus sites in 2016 (MEAC team campus) and 2017 (SWAC team campus). In 2018, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge established a new home in Atlanta at Georgia State University. The Howard Bison will take the field in the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off for the first time this year, while Alabama State makes its third appearance. The MEAC leads the series 11-4.

For tickets, games, and ancillary information about the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off, visit www.meacswacchallenge.com. Stay up-to-date on the latest MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off by following them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 

For more information on the ATL Airport District, visit www.ATLdistrict.com or call 404.334.7500. For updates on everything in “The District,” follow @ATLDistrict on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the ATL Airport District:

The ATL Airport District is the official destination marketing organization for the cities of College Park, Hapeville and Union City, Ga. Home to the world’s busiest airport, Georgia’s second largest convention center, more than 8,000 hotel rooms, an abundance of arts and culture, an eclectic mix of great restaurants, and located just minutes from downtown Atlanta, the ATL Airport District offers big-city amenities balanced with Southern charm.

About ESPN Events:

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of collegiate sporting events nationwide. In 2022, the 32-event schedule includes three early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, and a college softball event, which account for approximately 400 hours of live programming, while reaching nearly 64 million viewers and attracting over 800,000 annual attendees. With satellite offices in more than 10 cities across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. For more information, visit the official websiteFacebookTwitter or YouTube pages.


Media Contact:

Cameron Trice, Hemsworth Communications

770-286-2207 or [email protected]