All roads lead to Canton, OH to crown NFL Flag champions
The National Football League announced today that the NFL Flag Championships, the world's premiere youth football flag tournament, will be hosted on July 19-21, at the Hall of Fame Village in Canton, OH. The NFL Flag Championships will feature over 280 teams of girls and boys, NFL Flag regional winners from across the country representing all 32 NFL clubs.
ESPN will provide LIVE coverage of the 30-game showcase, beginning with the round of 16 for 14U boys and 17U girls. The 15 boys and 15 girl's games will appear on multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+, and ESPN YouTube. In addition, the games will be available to stream on NFL+.
"The worldwide broadcast of – and global participation in – the NFL Flag Championships, being held at the center of football excellence in Canton, Ohio underscores NFL Flag's popularity and its global reach," said Troy Vincent, Sr., executive vice president of NFL football operations. "This tournament emphasizes the importance of Flag Football and will showcase it as the highly competitive cornerstone of affordability, accessibility, and inclusivity of football for all."
The platforms for the Championship finals will expand to include additional Disney platforms, with both the boys' and girls' games airing on ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD and ESPN Deportes and streaming on Disney+, ESPN+ and NFL+.
Coverage of the NFL Flag Championships will be available in over 125 countries on ESPN branded networks including Mexico, Brazil, throughout Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Netherlands, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.
"The NFL Flag Championships is ESPN and Disney's newest opportunity to support the NFL's tremendous work around flag football," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN senior vice president of league programming and acquisitions. "We will equally showcase the girls 17U and boys 14U tournament across our television and streaming platforms and our branded social networks, introducing the sport to new fans. The summer tournament adds a signature event on our year-around NFL calendar and further deepens our youth-focused initiatives."
NFL Flag, operated by RCX Sports, will produce the three-day competition in partnership with Omaha Productions just footsteps from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The NFL Flag Championships will be the premiere youth flag tournament of the calendar year, featuring some of the very best girls' and boys' Flag Football players from across the country and around the world. International youth flag football teams representing multiple countries will compete in an NFL Flag Championships showcase.
"The inaugural NFL FLAG Championships is the most prominent stage these athletes will have ever played on," said Izell Reese, CEO of RCX Sports, executive director of NFL Flag and a Global Flag Football Ambassador. "As we look ahead to the 2028 Olympic Games, it's encouraging to see how our mission of increasing accessibility and inclusivity has led to more kids getting involved in NFL FLAG. I'm excited to see how many athletes competing here in Ohio may be competing to represent their country on the global stage in four years."
"For all of us at Omaha, it's been fun to team up with our friends at the NFL and RCX Sports to build out the NFL Flag Championships and create a new platform for high-level competition," said Peyton Manning, whose company Omaha Productions helped develop the plan for the tournament. "We're excited about this initiative and the impact it will have on growing youth football participation worldwide."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Oct. 16, 2023, that Flag Football will be included in the 2028 Summer Olympic Games program in Los Angeles, CA. The inclusion puts flag football on the world's largest stage.
"We are honored to host the NFL Flag Championships and to welcome these flag football athletes and families from around the world," shared Michael Crawford, President and CEO of Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company, Hall of Fame Village's parent company. "Hosting this type of youth sporting event at our world-class sports complex directly speaks to our Mission, which is to Honor the Past and Inspire the Future. Youth Flag Football athletes of all skill levels will be competing at the highest level in the shadows of the place that houses to best to ever play the game."
Flag football's rapid growth and popularity also is reflected in an exhibit inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Flag football is the world's fastest-growing sport, played by over 20 million people in more than 100 countries, across six continents. It is the most inclusive and accessible format of football, played by people of all ages and genders, with female athletes driving some of the fastest growth. The Pro Bowl Games youth participants as well as Global Flag Ambassadors will make appearances at the NFL Flag Championships to promote the growth of flag football and bring awareness to the event.
For more information on NFL Flag football and to find a league in your neighborhood, please visit nflflag.com
About NFL FLAG
NFL FLAG is an NFL-licensed property of more than 1,800 locally operated leagues and over 650,000 youth athletes across all 50 states and Canada. NFL FLAG is a fun and accessible non-contact program available for girls and boys ages 5-17. Players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football as well as lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. RCX Sports is the official operator of NFL FLAG. Learn more online at nflflag.com