This Labor Day weekend, Grambling State University and Hampton University will face off in a different kind of football match than Harrison’s Red Bull Arena usually hosts.
In that capacity, the Newark-based financial services company said it will have branding on all official game-related digital platforms in addition to marketing materials and merchandise. On the field, Prudential’s logo, emblazoned with its famous rock, will be on full display.
The Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic celebrates the culture and excellence of historically Black colleges and universities, Prudential said.
According to the Department of Education, the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, describes HBCUs as schools “established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans …” The Classic, Prudential said, is designed to increase awareness about the institutions while also directly affecting the company’s hometown of Newark with scholarships, partnerships and local economic development.
“HBCUs are critical to Prudential’s vision to be a global leader in expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security,” Shané Harris, vice president and head of social responsibility at Prudential, said in a July statement. “Strong HBCUs have a direct positive influence on Black worker incomes, resulting in $1.2 billion in additional economic opportunity, and are a crucial component in building generational Black wealth.”
The Brick City Classic is just part of Prudential’s work to help promote and support HBCUs along with their students and families. The Newark anchor institution’s multipronged approach includes working with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, in 2022, to help students find internships through Pru’s HBCU Immersion Program. There’s also the HBCU Strategic Initiatives program at PGIM, Prudential’s $1.27 trillion asset management arm. That effort aims to help HBCUs raise funds, and their endowments, by providing investment education and training for decision-makers.
“We are excited and proud to have Prudential as the title sponsor for the Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic as their mission to increase awareness and opportunities for HBCUs and their students aligns with ours,” said Brian Taylor of KBS Sports Strategies.
Saturday’s game is also the first in a series of six football contests between HBCUs for which Wells Fargo will serve as official banking sponsor, the financial institution announced Aug. 31.
Overall, the bank said it will provide a total of $300,000 in scholarships to the competing schools, as well as opportunities for virtual and in-person financial workshops for students, alumni and others to gain greater access to financial and wealth-building tools. In addition to the Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic, the series will stop in the Garden State Sept. 16 for the HBCU New York Classic match-up between Morehouse College and Albany State University at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
Wells Fargo was also the official banking sponsor for last year’s HBCU classic at MetLife Stadium, during which it presented checks for $25,000 in scholarships to competitors Morehouse College and Howard University.
This year’s game in Harrison renews a rivalry between GSU and HU, according to Prudential – both teams led by College Football Hall of Fame coaches. In their past seven pairings, Hampton has won six games, with an average attendance of 46,000.
According to a spokesperson between 10,000 and 12,000 attendees are anticipated for Saturday’s game at Red Bulls Arena, which will be broadcast on the NFL Network. The high-profile match follows last weekend’s explosion of “Messi Mania” at the stadium, when Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi made his MLS debut, playing against the hometown Red Bulls in front of a sold-out crowd.