PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With New England set to host the historic Army-Navy football game for the first time later this year, Rhode Island leaders have started making preparations.

“America’s Game” will be played on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Gillette Stadium, and the city of Providence was chosen to serve as the de facto headquarters for the U.S. Naval Academy that weekend. Officials said the city will host roughly 3,000 Navy midshipmen, along with alumni, family and fans.

The midshipmen will be housed at the R.I. Convention Center Friday night, then driven to Foxboro the following morning.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, West Point class of 1971 and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and former U.S. Rep. Ron Machtley, U.S. Naval Academy class of 1970, are serving as honorary chairmen of the Army/Navy Local Organizing Committee.

Both will be rooting for their respective teams as they meet for the 124th time.

“Despite the opposition on the field, there is a unity of purpose, there is a dedication to country, there is a profound mutual respect for all who wear the uniform,” Reed said.

“Rhode Island has a tremendous tradition of serving the military,” Machtley added. “In fact, from the Revolutionary War to present, we have a Navy presence here.”

Watch: Full news conference (story continues below)

Limited tickets for the game will soon be available on the West Point and the Naval Academy websites.

A number of associated events will be held in the area that weekend, including the Army-Navy Gala and the Patriot Games.

Officials said the city of Providence is looking to put on a Waterfire after the game on Saturday, and the AMP is securing contracts to hold an unspecified event that night.