The National Football League will take over one of London’s most iconic locations on Saturday, September 8 as it celebrates the start of the 2018 season with NFL Kickoff on Piccadilly, presented by GoUSA TV.
The free event will see Piccadilly closed to traffic and becoming a hub of NFL and entertainment activities during a day-long festival to mark the opening weekend of the season. The first game of the new season takes place on Thursday, September 6, with the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Atlanta Falcons, while Sunday, September 9 sees the first full schedule of games.
NFL Kickoff on Piccadilly will run from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. and will feature:
- On-stage entertainment, including a headline music act
- NFL cheerleaders
- Family Tailgate area, including interactive NFL-themed games
- Appearances by NFL legends, including Q & A sessions and signings
- Kids’ Zone, including an NFL mini-pitch
- Screenings of the new America’s Game, featuring the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII triumph, at BAFTA
- NFL mascots, including Swoop from the Eagles
- Wide range of American-style food, including dishes straight from the six regions whose teams will be playing games in London later this year
- NFL Shop, where fans can buy a wide range of merchandise from their favourite team
Against this backdrop will be a screening of Super Bowl LII, between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, played in February – complete with explanations and analysis by NFL experts, including the BBC’s Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell and Sky Sports’ Neil Reynolds.
“This will be a fantastic way to launch the new season,” said NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood. “The NFL has a great reputation of staging engaging fan events in London – at locations such as Trafalgar Square and Regent Street – and we are excited about the opportunity of taking over Piccadilly. The planned activities will appeal to everyone, whether they are currently NFL fans or not, and we are looking forward to a day of fun, football and family entertainment that will be a great celebration of our sport.”
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive, Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “We are delighted that the NFL has reaffirmed its commitment to London’s West End, with Piccadilly hosting the kickoff event. We know the players are very excited about coming to London later in the year and London is very excited about hosting them and their fans, both at the kickoff event and at the games later in the year.”
The NFL continues its London Games Series in 2018, with three matchups: October 14, Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders, Tottenham Hotspur (6:00 p.m.); October 21, Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers, Wembley (2:30 p.m.); October 28, Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley (1:30 p.m.).