MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The acclaimed Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band will perform at halftime of February’s Senior Bowl, and the rock band Portugal the Man will perform a free concert the night before, game officials announced Wednesday.
The popular Senior Bowl Fan Experience, a meet the players event held at the Mobile Convention Center for 25 years, is not a part of this year’s scheduled festivities. Game officials say the decision was made due to coronavirus concerns and the new name, image, and likeness rules that allow college athletes to sign paid endorsement deals, many of which include exclusive autograph signing rights.
Last year’s Senior Bowl was scaled back due to COVID-19, with only 25-percent capacity allowed in the game, and most other activities canceled.
Friday night February 4, a players parade will be held in Downtown Mobile, ending at Cathedral Square where Portugal the Man will perform a free concert. The Alaska-based group won a Grammy award in 2017 for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” for its single, “Feel It Still.”
Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy says the band is perfect for Mobile.
“They’ve got that funky vibe that kind of matches our city,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Nagy says he thinks the concert will help attract more out-of-town fans to the game.
“To bring more people into town, you have to give them more reasons than just the game,” Nagy said.
Gameday is Saturday, Feb. 5, a week later than usual because of the NFL’s expanded 17-game schedule. Events outside Hancock-Whitney Stadium will include a player walk from their buses into the stadium, similar to Alabama’s Walk of Champions or Auburn’s Tiger Walk. The New Orleans Saints Experience will provide interactive games for kids, and there will be live music. Inside the stadium, college football’s top mascots will entertain fans and FAMU’s band will play at halftime.
This will be the second game played at the University of South Alabama’s Hancock-Whitney Stadium. Nagy says about half of the 25,000 tickets for the game have been sold so far.
From 1951 to 2020, the Senior Bowl was played at 40,000 capacity Ladd-Peebles Stadium.