The 2014 Croke Park Classic between UCF and Penn State
Great news for fans of US sports today as Enda Kenny announced that an American College Football game would be played in Dublin in 2016.
The Taoiseach announced the news at an event in Dublin and he confirmed that the two teams would be Boston College and Georgia Tech, who would face off at Aviva Stadium on September 3, 2016.
Aer Lingus are the chief sponsor while support is also being provided by Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Dublin City Council.
Speakign at the launch the Taoiseach said: “This is great news for Irish tourism and the economy; in 2012 and again last year, we witnessed a huge surge of US visitors to our shores for the Emerald Isle Classic and the Croke Park Classic and I have no doubt, particularly given Boston College’s close links with this country, we will see another spectacular success in 2016. Sports tourism and events like this College Football game have become increasingly important as we build and develop our tourism industry and I want to thank Boston College President Fr. William Leahy for his support in making this game a reality”.
The 2014 Croke Park Classic drew ire from many as it forced the replayed Kerry/Mayo All-Ireland semi-final out of Croke Park and into the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
In fact, this game had originally been scheduled as a potential game at HQ but the GAA ditched the idea. It looked like fans of US sport would be denied a game in 2016 but with the match moved to Aviva, it is now full steam ahead.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This game will provide a further, very welcome boost for tourism next year, with up to 25,000 people expected to travel here from the US and Europe. It will undoubtedly be another wonderful college football event for Dublin, bringing wider benefits to the island as a whole. Tourism Ireland in the US is working closely with Anthony Travel, the official travel company for both colleges, and other travel partners, to maximise the tourism benefits of the game. Sports-related tourism has emerged as a very significant element of the global travel business in recent years and the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be another great opportunity to showcase Dublin and Ireland, and more generally the many attractions that the island of Ireland offers as a holiday destination.”