Tuesday October 3, 2023

Ivy League Heads Back to Japan for All-Star Football Game

  • Ivy League football returns to Japan after a 27-year hiatus.
  • Seniors and grad students will face elite players from Japan's top pro league.
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The Ivy League is headed back to Japan for an exhibition that will continue to grow American football in the emerging market for the sport.

On January 22, a team of Ivy League all-stars will take on a Japanese all-star team in the Dream Bowl, the league and the Japan National Football Association announced this week.

The game will take place at 11 p.m. ET on January 21 in Tokyo at the National Stadium, which was built for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Ivy’s team will be made up of seniors and graduate students from all eight schools and will be coached by Columbia’s Al Bagnoli. The Japan team will be composed of elite players from X League — Japan’s top American football league.

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This is actually not the first time the Ivy League has played football in Japan.

From 1989 through 1996, the two countries staged a game that similarly pitted Ivy League and Japanese all-star teams against each other. The Americans won all eight matchups.

The matchup will be broadcast live in Japan — and delayed rebroadcast options in the United States are still being worked out.

The U.S. delegation will arrive in Japan on January 15 to prepare for the game, as well as take part in Japanese cultural and educational events. Two Ivy League professors will accompany the group to further the learning experience.

“The student-athletes will receive an incredible cultural and educational experience during their time in Japan as well as a chance to play the game they love in a unique international setting,” said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. “We are grateful for their collaboration and share in their excitement to display the skill and talent of Ivy League football to an international audience.”

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