The National Football League is coming to Long Beach – at least for a day.
Thanks to Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, the NFL will kick off the 2022 season on Thursday, September 8 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, with the home team taking on the Buffalo Bills. But the NFL Kickoff Experience — a one-day festival followed by a watch party — will take place on Alamitos Beach in downtown Long Beach.
Best of all, the Kickoff experience is free. And the Vince Lombardi Trophy will be in Long Beach for fans to take selfies; the rings of the 56 previous Super Bowl winners will also be on display, with plenty of other photo opportunities also available.
Rams and Bills legends will sign autographs.
Fans will be able to test their skills with football-related games including a field kick, 40-yard dash and the ubiquitous video games with a Plug & Play challenge. Youngsters can catch punts, attempt a pass over a defender and even try out NFL gear.
There will be a beer garden hosted by Bud Light, as well as the Smirnoff Tavern, for those under 21, as well as other food and drink concessions for a tailgate party. And a major NFL store will carry branded merchandise for all professional teams (with a focus on the Rams and Chargers).
People can also help give back, by helping United Service Organizations put together 10,000 USO Care Packages for military service members. The packages will be filled with snacks, such as candy bars and healthy drinks, to remind soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen and women of home, according to a USO spokesperson. The parcels will be delivered to all over the world during the holidays.
The highlight of the day will be the 4 pm concert by J. Balvin, known as the Prince of Reggaeton. The Colombian-born musician has won five Latin Grammy Awards and has been a Grammy nominee for the past three years.
The Latin pop star has sold over 45 million records worldwide. The concert will be televised as part of NBC’s pregame show.
After the concert is over, attendees can pull out lawn chairs and blankets to settle in for an evening of game watching. Seating is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There will also be a standing area.
While it’s free to attend the NFL Kickoff Experience, tickets are required for entry for those over 18. After registration, tickets will be on the NFL OnePass smartphone app – the app is also required to participate in some of the day’s activities. There will be an option at the event for those who do not have a smartphone and have registered for tickets.
Adults are limited to two tickets each, not including minors. Under 18s do not need tickets, although they must be registered. Tickets are available at NFL.com/2022kickoff.
Although the Kickoff experience is set up in a large space on the beach, it will still be limited to capacity, with entry on a first-come, first-served basis. There will also be extensive security screening, including metal detection gates.
Small bags (18x16x8) are allowed, as well as water bottles and garden chairs. But no outside food or drink is allowed, as well as any items that are generally prohibited at sporting events and amusement parks.
Security gates will open at 11 a.m. for screening and the site will open at noon. Public transportation and carpooling are recommended, with parking available at the Long Beach Convention Center parking lot (entrance on Seaside Way) for $15 and at the Pike Garage for $26.40 for the day. Parking can be purchased in advance at longbeachcc.com and parklb.com/special-events.
For more information, visit nfl.com/kickoff.