See flag football at The World Games 2022 Birmingham thanks to the NFL

people playing flag football at an international sporting event
Reeeeeach. Photo via The World Games 2022

It’s not every day that an international sports competition adds a whole new sport at a historic venue with a fantastic presenting sponsor, but that’s what The World Games 2022 Birmingham just did. We’ll all be able to check out men’s and women’s flag football, presented by the National Football League, at Legion Field in July 2022. Keep reading for all the details.

Everybody needs something positive to look forward to now

spectators at an international sporting event
Can’t you just feel the excitement? Photo via The World Games

The World Games 2022 Birmingham, in partnership with the International World Games Association (IWGA), National Football League (NFL), and International Federation of American Football (IFAF) announced today that flag football will join the existing lineup of 32 unique, multi-disclipinary sports.

Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022 at Legion Field in Birmingham
What big announcements looked like in the Before Times. Photo via The World Games 2022

When CEO Nick Sellers and I spoke, he struck me as a man of great optimism, the kind you can’t help but catch.

He spoke from the heart about how we all need something to look forward to at this time. Not only will this be the first edition of The World Games on American soil since 1981, but it will also be the first major international sporting event in the US coming out of the pandemic.

“The World Games 2022 was already set to be the first major international sporting event in the US coming out of the global pandemic.

The world is longing to reconnect, and Birmingham, Alabama will play a pivotal role in that reconnection.”

Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022

All this equals good news for Birmingham

Birmingham will host The World Games 2022
Can you believe our city will be the site of the first major international sporting event in the US after the pandemic? Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

It was delightful to hear Sellers’ enthusiasm for just how big this news is for our Magic City.

He believes that the combination of flag football, a sport that’s well-loved throughout the region, the chance to see it at historic Legion Field and the fact that the National Football League has signed on as a presenting sponsor all adds up to great news for Birmingham.

“It’s a huge deal for the Birmingham organizing committee to add flag football and the NFL as a presenting sponsor. 

I think it’s gonna blow the lid off this thing in terms of promoting the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama to the entire world.

First, it’s unprecedented to have flag football. This is the first time in history that the sport will be part of an International World Games competition.

Then to have flag football presented by the NFL, which is obviously a global brand, for The World Games, is unprecedented.”

Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022

Here’s what we’ll be able to see at historic Legion Field

Sign saying Welcome to Legion Field The World Games Birmingham 2022
So many cool new signs in town. Photo via The World Games 2022

It’ll be called “Flag Football @TWG2022 Presented by the NFL” and it’ll feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams from across the globe.

Did you know the US men’s and women’s teams are current reigning world champions in flag football? I didn’t either, but as such, they automatically pre-qualify for The World Games 2022, which is exciting.

Other teams will earn their spots through the International Federation of American Football (IFAF’s) qualifying process.

What’s in it for the NFL?

The NFL will be the presenting sponsor for flag football at The World Games 2022
NFL Football. Photo via the NFL’s Facebook page

As a Premier Partner of The World Games 2022, the NFL will serve as the presenting sponsor of flag football and will promote The Games across its international platforms over the next two years. Big win.

“This outreach that the NFL has through flag football—you can liken it to when Major League Baseball sponsored the US Women’s Olympic Softball team for the “Stand Beside Her” tour this year leading up to Tokyo Olympics.

That team will be playing at the World Games at the Hoover Met in 2022 and they have a huge following.

The NFL has a global reach, with offices in 7-8 countries, while flag football—for both men and women—is growing internationally. The NFL smartly recognizes the value of the investment in flag football for boys and girls.”

Nick Sellers

Just like Willy Wonka’s 5 Golden Tickets, Birmingham gets to choose up to five invitational sports

women playing flag football at an international sporting event
One of the really cool things about flag football is that men and women play it, and all shapes and sizes can join in the fun. Photo via The World Games 2022

I did not realize that in addition to the official lineup, host cities have the option of adding up to five invitational sports to the lineup. Flag Football @TWG2022 Presented by the NFL will be the fourth. Here are the others:

  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Lacrosse
  • Duathlon

“Football is a staple of Southern sports and will be a welcome addition to The 2022 World Games lineup. Non-contact sports like flag football are a great way to open up competition to all skill levels. That type of accessibility and inclusion is what The World Games is all about, providing incredible experiences and lasting memories for participants and spectators to enjoy. Birmingham can’t wait for the world to join us in 2022.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin

Now tell us, Birmingham, what do you think about this news? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know!