Atlanta, GA – The electrifying MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff Weekend is back in our hometown and Cricket is spreading smiles at Center Parc Stadium as title sponsor. The Jackson State Tigers and South Carolina State Bulldogs will face off once again, kick starting the HBCU football season.

The long weekend of activities begins on Thursday, August 24 at Langston Hughes High School. Cricket representatives will discuss the importance of having a positive digital footprint on social media during ESPN’s High School Seminar. On Friday, August 25, Cricket is collaborating with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA) to host a college and career readiness panel discussion for club members. A panel of six Cricket HBCU Campus Ambassadors will share insights on preparing for college and taking advantage of the college experience in preparation for the future. By integrating the lived experiences of HBCU students with our BGCA collaboration we hope to empower students who would like a college education but may be daunted by the possibility.

On gameday Saturday, the entire fall 2023 class of Cricket HBCU Campus Ambassadors will join #CricketNation for the game. The tailgate experience includes student band jamborees, Cricket’s fan zone trailer; and Hip-Hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh will join Florida A&M University alumna Rashan Ali on her podcast, Cool Soror before performing on stage to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.

Cricket’s latest HBCU commercial spots Hint, ABC’s, and Secret Handshake featuring our dynamic Cricket HBCU Campus Ambassadors will also debut nationally over the weekend during the ABC broadcast. Filmed at the historic Atlanta University Center, all three spots were directed by North Carolina A&T University alumnus, Kevin Wilson Jr.

What Else Is Happening During The Weekend?
In Houston, the Cricket sponsored National Battle of the Bands (NBOTB) welcomes eight Historically Black Colleges & Universities to showcase the soul and rhythm of their marching bands. Cricket is proud to sponsor the largest HBCU marching band event in the country for a third year. Our sponsorship directly benefits the participating colleges and universities’ band programs.

Before showtime, Cricket will be present at the S.T.E.M College & Career Fair where prospective students will be able to apply to various schools onsite. To help these future scholars stress less and smile more, #CricketNation will be on the ground giving away $250 book scholarships. Our team will also be informing families about the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

"HBCU band programs have played a significant role in fostering the legacy and culture of these institutions,” said Cricket Wireless Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Tony Mokry. “We are honored to support the National Battle of the Bands and serve as title sponsor of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff to continue inspiring smiles on and off the field.”

For more information about the NBOTB visit For Visit, for more information on the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff. And to learn more about the Cricket HBCU Campus Ambassador Program, visit

About National Battle of the Bands
Enhancing the exposure of Historically Black Colleges & Universities marching bands, while developing students through music and education, the NBOTB is an annual musical showcase. The National Battle of the Bands' mission is to enhance the exposure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their marching bands, the roles they play in educating aspiring musicians, and developing future leaders. Event organizers have generated more than $700,000 in scholarships for the participating colleges and universities. The 2023 event is in Houston, Texas and features dozens of HBCU bands from across the country.

About ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of collegiate sporting events nationwide. In 2023, the 33-event schedule includes four early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, nine college basketball events, a college softball event and the inaugural Band of the Year National Championship, in addition to a new college gymnastics event coming in 2024. Collectively, these events account for over 400 hours of live programming on ESPN platforms, while reaching 60 million viewers and attracting more than 650,000 annual attendees. Each year, the portfolio of events features more than 20 Division I conferences and hosts over 4,000 participating student-athletes. 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 website.

About Cricket Wireless
Cricket is focused on inspiring smiles, one meaningful connection at a time. We offer an easy and high-quality wireless experience on our reliable nationwide network. Our affordable, straightforward service plans include monthly taxes and don’t require an annual contract. Our customers also enjoy basic to top-brand phones at affordable prices. Based on net adds among major carriers, in the second quarter of 2023 AT&T had the fastest growing prepaid phone portfolio in the U.S.—which includes Cricket Wireless. 2022 was the fourth consecutive year where AT&T’s prepaid portfolio added more prepaid phone customers than any other major provider in the United States.

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