Arts & Life, Events, Sports

Global superstar J Balvin kicks off NFL season in Long Beach

Despite the extreme 100 degree weather, thousands were in attendance at the NFL kickoff party on Thursday at Alamitos Beach where Latin artist J Balvin headlined a free concert.

The Colombian singer is the first Latin artist to headline the NFL Kickoff Concert ahead of the first game of the season between the LA Rams and Buffalo Bills.

J Balvin opens the NFL kickoff with free concert.
J Balvin opens the NFL kickoff with free concert. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

Many fans were glad to see a free concert here in Long Beach.

“I think the concert is cool,” new Long Beach resident Eric Laitman said. “I moved to Long Beach a few months ago and I never seen so many people in one area.”

Long Beach residents and fans obtained the opportunity to receive the NFL Kickoff Experience for free with the inclusive activities like play areas, resource stations, autograph booths and photo ops.

The United Service Organization, one of the NFL’s longest standing partners, were in attendance at the event and fill up care packages.

Fans watch the LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills game on Thursday.
Fans watch the LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills game on Thursday. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

“We are here today as sort of their salute to service partner to show the NFL’s continuous support of our military,” Allison Anderson, Regional Donor Stewardship Manager of USO West said.

The USO and community members at the kickoff party packed up resourceful items for those in need.

“Our goal is to pack 10,000 care packages and they will get shipped out to anyone in need,” Anderson said.

Many local fans came out with their family or friends to celebrate the first game of the season despite the hot weather.

“It is nice that they are keeping us hydrated with free water,” said Darryl Bailey. “We wanted to make sure we got here when it cooled down.”

A family heads to the NFL kickoff event at Alamitos Beach.
A family heads to the NFL kickoff event at Alamitos Beach. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

Baily’s friend, Brandon Forrester added, “I’m excited to be out at the beach. This is the first time they have done something like this out here.”

Besides rooting for the LA Rams this season, as they wore a jersey of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Bailey and Forrester were just excited to witness the event in-person amid COVID-19 infections still occurring.

“After the pandemic, people are happy to be together again,” Bailey said.

Although the Rams suffered a 10-31 loss to the Bills on Thursday, the amount of fans with Rams jerseys at the kickoff shows there is a lot to look forward to this season.

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