Credit: New York Red Bulls

The 2024 Major League Soccer season is fast approaching. The New York Red Bulls will open their latest campaign with two road games before the home opener on March 9th. That game will kick off a season of theme nights and events in Harrison for RBNY fans.

The Red Bulls have 16 other home games this season. Like most other professional sports teams, the team has a few dates specially marked with promotions to drive in additional fans. Some of these are themes, some are giveaways, and some are both. The games where the team “rewards” you for attending are some of the best ones to go to, especially for casual fans. In the spirit of getting excited for the 2024 season, we’ve created a list of the games you should circle on your calendars.

 

March 9 vs FC Dallas
Home Opener pres. by OANDA | RBNY LED Foam Stick

The aforementioned home opener will be against FC Dallas of the Western Conference. This game will also, hopefully, mark the first match for Emil Forsberg at Red Bull Arena. The team is looking to mark this occasion with a spectacle as every fan will receive a LED Foam Stick”.

As explained by New York in it’s press release:

“Each fan will receive light-up foam LED sticks to help enhance Red Bull Arena’s new lighting system and help grow our match experience.”

Much like how the RBNY app lit up last season during fireworks shows, this should be similar. The crisp night air will hopefully be bright red to welcome the Red Bulls’ newest star.

 

March 23 vs Inter Miami CF
Full Arena Flag Show

I mean… I don’t really have to say anything here. People don’t even know if Lionel Messi will be with Miami at the time of this game. The Argentine National team’s friendlies in China have been canceled so there’s a chance.

Last year Red Bull Arena was besieged by Messi fans looking to watch his first Major League Soccer match. Miami won that game 2-0.

The giveaway isn’t really clear and I’m not sure why there even is a giveaway. The “Full Arena Flag Show” could mean two things:

1: Every seat in RBA has a flag that when held up together makes a specific visual

2: Similar to the Pittsburgh Steeler terrible towels, this is just red flags people can wave together to make a “red out”

 

April 13 vs Chicago Fire FC
Autism Acceptance pres. By Hackensack Meridian Health | Pop-its Keychain

Autism Acceptance at Red Bull Arena has had its ups and downs. However the marquee event is still one that is greatly appreciated in multiple communities. It returns again this year with the Pop-its keychain giveaway also returning.

The match against an intriguing Chicago Fire side might outweigh the theme night. Tom Barrow will make his return to Harrison after being traded. With anything, he’ll score a hat-trick and the South Ward will be unsure if they should boo or cheer.

 

April 27 vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC
College Night | Bucket Hat

A new Theme Night for Red Bulls for the return of Brian White to Harrison. The former Red Bulls’ forward is inching closer to the all-time Whitecaps’ scoring record and hopefully he won’t get any against his former team. After a poor showing in the Champions Cup, Vancouver still has some shine on it this season as an interesting foe.

As for the giveaway… it’s a bucket hat. Who doesn’t like bucket hats? They are always in style.

 

May 29 vs Charlotte FC
Bark Night

One of the new theme nights this year, Bark Night gives fans a chance to include their canine companions at the game. Those four legged fans will receive a co-branded bandana, too.

This may be similar to the Mets’ Bark at the Park events. At those, special tickets allow fans with dogs to sit in a specific section at Citi Field. The Mets also donate a portion of the ticket cost to North Shore Animal League America.

New York will look to replicate the high scoring offence it had against Charlotte in last year’s wildcard match.

 

June 1 vs Orlando City SC
Pride Night pres. by Wawa | Sunglasses

One of the highlights of the season in terms of “theme nights” is RBNY’s Pride Night. A lot of events around the stadium, specialty kits, charitable causes, and more are all going to be part of the night. The sunglasses giveaway returns from last year as well.

On the field Orlando City is an interesting opponent. After their best regular season since joining MLS, Orlando has a lot of positive momentum going into 2024. Finishing second in the East and in the shield standings will put a lot of eyes on central Florida. Plus they crushed New York last season in Harrison.

At the very least, you’ll be able to get Wawa coupons around the Bullevard prior to the game.

 

June 15 vs Nashville SC
Collectible Night | Soccer Player Mini-Figure

Nashville lost to New York to close out the 2023 regular season. Nashville will open the 2024 season against New York.

The first-ever Collectible Theme Night is a bit of a mystery. Previously the Red Bulls have done an event with card collectors at the arena. That event featured sellers and traders outside and around the arena to talk about sports trading cards. This one appears to be different.

 

June 22 vs Toronto FC
Fireworks Night pres. by Audi

While the War of 1812 officially ended in a draw, what better way to rub it in Canada’s face than shooting artillery into the night sky? Two weeks ahead of Independence Day, the Red Bulls will hold Fireworks Night.

Last season the team held multiple Fireworks Nights for fans to enjoy. One show followed the team’s sellout against Inter Miami CF. Earlier in the year the team also ran a show against the other Florida MLS side, Orlando City SC.

One cool thing the team started last season was the implementation of the New York Red Bulls app during the shows. Fans who downloaded the app prior to the fireworks could hold up their phones to help create a light show during the display.

 

July 17 vs CF Montréal
Star Wars Night

A midweek game against Montreal doesn’t isn’t the most appealing match on paper. A team that just missed out on the playoffs last year (thanks to John Tolkin’s late goal on Decision Day) might have thoughts of revenge. But for fans in Harrison they almost certainly will not care about that.

However New York will be hosting “Star Wars Night” for a third straight season. Previous editions of the theme night have included characters from the star wars films roaming RBA and various activities for young children. In addition, both previous nights have included a bobblehead giveaway featuring a Red Bulls player crossed with the Star Wars universe. In 2022, John Tolkin took the form of The Mandalorian, and last year Luquinhas got the nod with a Luke Skywalker makeover.

Details have not been released regarding what the giveaway will be this year.

 

July 20 vs FC Cincinnati
Marvel Night pres. by Hackensack Meridian Health | Red Bulls Comic Book

The team that has knocked RBNY out of the playoffs the last two seasons, and last year’s U.S. Open Cup, returns to Harrison. With it being Marvel Night, MLS Defender of the Year Matt Miazga will have no issue playing the role of supervillain. Hopefully his plans don’t involve either the South Ward or the referee’s dressing room though.

Once again, New York will host Marvel Night in collaboration with the mega-media franchise. Full details aren’t known at this time for the theme night. However last year player’s wore jerseys with unique number designs on the back and custom cleats. The team also took time to honor medical heros with Hackensack Meridian Health.

Last year, fans in attendance had a chance to receive a Daniel Edelman x Star-Lord inspired bobblehead and poster. This year the team has announced an RBNY comic book will be the giveaway.

 

September 28 vs New York City FC
New York Derby | Commemorative Trading Cards

The Hudson River Derby trophy will be on the line in late September. Following the team’s first match in May at Citi Field, Harrison will be the stage for the final regular season clash for New York’s teams. After winning the trophy last year, the first time it was awarded, the Red Bulls will be keen to keep bragging rights.

In terms of selling this game, I really don’t have to. New York City FC is RBNY’s biggest rival. The stadium will be full of fans from both sides of the Hudson River. The upper deck away section will be swarming with blue kits and security guards.

However fans that attend will also receive Commemorative Trading Cards. Previously, the team worked with Topps to distribute these cards during Collector’s Night. The set will probably be incomplete, meaning you might have to trade with other fans to get a full set.

 

October 19 vs Columbus Crew
Fan Appreciation Night pres. by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey | T-shirt

A clash of original Major League Soccer teams will grace the Arena for Decision Day 2024. The defending MLS Cup champions will take on the team with the longest active playoff qualification streak in North American professional sports.

In terms of promotions, Fan Appreciation Night is one of the highlights of the season. The t-shirt that is given away to fans is typically a design chosen via social media vote. The BULLshop and other stores around the arena have discounts on items for fans, and especially red members, to indulge in. Plus last year some food and drink was also discounted.

Hopefully New York will not need a specific result on D-Day to qualify for the playoffs like last year. But if it comes to that, or if higher playoff seeding is on the line, it is nice to know RBA will be ready.

 

Other Theme Nights

  • May 11 vs New England Revolution – 90’s Night | Slap Bracelets
  • June 29 vs D.C. United Kids Night | Arm Sleeve (attendees under 12)
  • August 31 vs Philadelphia Union Hip-Hop Night | Tote Bag
  • September 7 vs Sporting Kansas City Drone Show
  • September 21 vs Atlanta United FC – Noche Latina pres. by NJ Lottery | Scarf
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