Kickoff Nears For Empire Challenge

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For the 14th consecutive year, the brightest football talent from New York City and Long Island will be the centerpiece of a football extravaganza that will raise money and awareness to fight cystic fibrosis and support youth football in the New York metropolitan area.

Boomer Esiason, the former Jets quarterback who is now an NFL television and radio analyst and talk show host, announced the details of this year's Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge all-star football game, which will be held Tuesday, June 23, at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium. 

The Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge was created by Esiason in 1996 as a benefit for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, the Gunnar H. Esiason Endowment Scholarship Fund at Hofstra and local youth football programs.  The game has also grown to become the crowning goal of high school football players throughout the New York metropolitan area. 

Kickoff for game is 7:30 p.m., with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. A series of pregame and postgame activities are also planned. Tickets are $15 per person and are available Shuart Stadium ticket booth on gameday. Ticket sales begin at 5:30 p.m.

A number of local and international companies have teamed up with the Boomer Esiason Foundation to underwrite the cost of the game and other day-long activities for the entire family. Outback Steakhouse, Canon U.S.A., Inc., USA Football, the New York Jets and many others will help the Foundation raise a significant amount of money at the game.  

In a recent interview, Mr. Esiason expressed his gratitude for those companies that have taken an active role in supporting their local communities.

"The support these companies have provided to the Boomer Esiason Foundation is a great example of how corporate America can make an impact in bettering the communities where employees work and live," said Esiason. "Their support for the Foundation will be used to improve the lives of all those afflicted with cystic fibrosis. As both a local resident and a parent of a child with cystic fibrosis, I'm thankful for companies like Canon U.S.A., the New York Jets, USA Football and Outback Steakhouse that believe giving back to the community is critical to their role as corporate citizens." 

With the support of these and other corporate sponsor relationships, the Boomer Esiason Foundation has raised over $70 million to date.  One of these corporations is located not far from Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium.

"Canon's corporate philosophy of Kyosei – 'all people, regardless of race, religion, or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future' – reaches across a number of youth and social programs and causes that the Company supports here in the New York and Long Island communities, including the Boomer Esiason Foundation," said Jack Suzuki, Senior Director and General Manager, Corporate Communications, Canon U.S.A. "Canon U.S.A. is proud to be part of this special event and our 14 year partnership with Boomer and his foundation." 

Free Admission to FanFest

Fans of all ages can participate in FanFest, which features Generation Jets Fest, from 4–7 p.m. in the Shuart Stadium parking lot.

Generation Jets Fest, the New York Jets' interactive theme park, includes inflatable rides, giveaways and fun for the whole family. Come out and kick a field goal, race through the obstacle challenge and test your passing skills.

Outback Steakhouse TailgateThis annual pregame party, from 4–7 p.m. in the Shuart Stadium parking lot, is a great way to kick off the day's football fun. Outback Steakhouse provides all your tailgate needs while you enjoy the music of Arcadia.

Tailgate tickets are $100 (children 3 and under are admitted free) and are available for purchase in advance, and admission to the game is included with your tailgate ticket purchase. To purchase tickets, call 516-746-0077.

Pregame

*  John Amirante, New York Rangers anthem singer, will honor America with the National Anthem.

*   Color Guard:The NY Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing, FS Gabreski Air National Guard Base Westhampton Beach, NY

Honorary Team Captains

*  2009 New York Jets rookie class

*   Melvin Fowler – 1997 Empire Challenge, a member of the Buffalo Bills from 2006-2008, Maryland University, Half Hollow Hills West HS

*   Willie Colon, 2001 Empire Challenge, "Super Bowl Champion" Pittsburgh Steelers, Hofstra University, Cardinal Hayes HS

Team captains subject to change.

About Boomer Esiason

Boomer Esiason is the former Jets and NFL quarterback, analyst for CBS Sports' "The NFL Today" and "Monday Night Football" on the Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports network, host of "The Boomer Esiason Show" on the MSG Network, and cohost on WFAN's morning radio show "Boomer and Carton in the Morning."

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