FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — One of college football’s biggest events is coming to New England for the first time.

Gillette Stadium is set to host the Army-Navy game on Dec. 9, 2023, Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced Wednesday alongside state, local and military officials.

“In New England, we value history, honor tradition, and celebrate sports rivalries. That’s why we are so thrilled for the opportunity to host America’s Game at Gillette Stadium in 2023,” Kraft said in a news release. “It will be our privilege and honor to welcome the Army and Navy teams, their families and all the patriots who annually attend the game.”

The Army-Navy game is one of the oldest and most storied rivalries in college football, dating back to 1890. Navy leads the series 62–53–7.

This was the third time Gillette put in a bid to host the game. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick grew up around the Naval Academy, where his father was a coach from 1956 to 1989.

Officials noted that 2023 coincides with the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and 225th anniversary of the USS Constitution’s maiden voyage and commissioning of the USS Massachusetts as a Navy vessel.

“As a national leader in supporting military institutions, empowering military families and honoring our veterans, we are proud that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been selected as the host of the 2023 Army Navy Game,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “The history of the United States is intertwined with Massachusetts dating back to the founding of the National Guard in 1636 and the founding of the Army in 1775, and we look forward to adding another chapter to that rich history as we welcome servicemen and women and their families to the Commonwealth for America’s Game.”

Boston was one of seven finalists, which included Philadelphia, where the 2022 game is scheduled to be played.

In addition to the game, officials said a number of associated events will be held at historic sites around the Greater Boston area.

Rhode Island will also play a role, according to the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, with the R.I. Convention Center set to host more than 3,000 Navy midshipmen overnight.

“It will be an honor to welcome servicemen and women and their families to the city for the weekend,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a news release. “This event will be a great economic booster for our hospitality community, which lost so much during the pandemic. My team has been proud to work on this partnership and we look forward to working with all of our partners to bring thousands of visitors to Providence.”

“It is an honor to welcome the Army-Navy Game – one of the great traditions in all of American athletics
– to New England for the first time ever,” Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee stated. “Rhode Island’s pride in its military runs deep through our 39 cities and towns. After all, it was the brave actions of the Rhode Island Militia that fired the first shot in the war against England. With the burning of the HMS Gaspee 250 years ago, Rhode Island declared independence from the crown in May 1776 – a full two months before the rest of our new nation. Our state continues to celebrate and honor its rich military history and the heroes of our armed forces to this day. We look forward to honoring and welcoming the teams representing the United
States Army and United States Navy when this classic football game kicks off in Gillette Stadium in 2023.”