Cricket Wireless worked with ESPN Events to bring its hometown of Atlanta an exciting opportunity to celebrate the rich heritage of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff.
The Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge featured a matchup between North Carolina Central Eagles and Alcorn State Braves. The Challenge not only ushered in the college football season, but it gave the community an opportunity to honor the tradition, legacy, and values of HBCUs.
Cricket has been a supporter of the SWAC since 2018 and the MEAC since 2019 through its involvement in sporting events, championship games as well as community programs in conjunction with participating schools.
As part of the company’s ongoing partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Cricket provided the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta with 200 tickets for the kids and their families to join the excitement of this year’s Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Not only will this give them a glimpse into college life, but it will also introduce boys and girls to HBCUs, sparking their interest to attend these storied institutions in the future.
While at the game, Boys & Girls Club members were able to visit the Cricket Fan Zone Trailer where they can learn about the rich history of HBCUs, take photos with an oversized replica of the Celebration Bowl Trophy and walk away with some cool swag. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the collegiate sports experience.
BGCA club members aren’t the only people Cricket is sending to the game. Earlier this summer, Cricket launched the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-off Flyaway Sweepstakes, which rewarded one lucky fan and a guest the opportunity to experience the start of the 2021 college football season. The prize package included roundtrip airfare and transportation to Atlanta, hotel accommodations, a $500 gift card, a premium smartphone with 2 months of free Cricket service and, of course, tickets to the Challenge.
“Over the past several years, we’ve worked with ESPN, the MEAC and SWAC to bring the energy and excitement of HBCU game days to a national audience. Now, once again, we’re thrilled to welcome students, alumni and fans to our hometown and get a taste of what makes the HBCU experience so unique,” said John Dwyer, President of the AT&T Prepaid Portfolio, which includes Cricket Wireless.
Dwyer added, “Our support of HBCUs is much more than a sponsorship; it’s an investment in our young people and the community. HBCU graduates are often respected leaders in business and in their communities. Like us, they recognize they have a responsibility to give back and reach back to ensure future generations have an opportunity to experience educational excellence.”
“We are proud of our multi-year relationship with Cricket Wireless as title sponsor of the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff and the Cricket Celebration Bowl,” said John Grant the game’s Executive Director. “We share a common focus on impacting youth in the Atlanta community and across the country. Their partnerships with Boys and Girls Club of America, the MEAC and SWAC is a clear demonstration of that commitment.”
“We are grateful to partners like Cricket Wireless that introduce kids and teens to HBCUs, allowing them to realize their full potential,” said Chad Royal-Pascoe, acting senior vice president, resource development for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “As academic success is a critical component of achieving happier and healthier human connections for youth, opportunities to participate in events like this year’s Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge can be true game-changers for Club members.”
Cricket’s Commitment Extends Beyond the Conference Games
Through its support of HBCUs, Cricket is working to create more meaningful connections within the communities in which they operate, helping to drive greater awareness of the black college experience. Here’s a snapshot of that work:
On Friday, August 27, Cricket did launch “Win,” the first of three TV commercials featuring HBCU students and alumni. To ensure the commercials authentically captured the spirit and passion of the HBCU experience, the Cricket Marketing Team consulted with up-and-coming Black female director Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah throughout the creative process. Cricket felt it was important to invest in Black talent while giving community members a chance to tell their own stories.
Cricket also recently launched a Campus Ambassador Program. This is a unique opportunity for students at HBCUs that have an interest in marketing to gain experience developing and executing marketing plans on their campuses with support from local Cricket Field Marketing Managers and Authorized Retailers. Additionally, top performing Ambassadors will be considered for post- graduation internships with Cricket and their supporting partners.
During Black Music Month in June, Cricket launched a campaign, “Endless Sound,” to drum up greater support and awareness of HBCU music programs. As part of this effort, the company is donating $24,000 to support the music programs at each of the eight HBCU schools competing in the National Battle of the Bands (NBOTB). Cricket is a sponsor of NBOTB, taking place Sunday, Aug. 28 in Houston. To allow folks to see, hear and feel the energy and passion of the HBCU marching band experience, Cricket created the “Endless Sound” video.