It has been confirmed that the Aviva Stadium will host the next American Football Classic, which will take place on the first Saturday in September 2016. Boston College and Georgia Tech will meet on the traditional weekend of the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park.
Despite the clash of fixtures on the weekend school resumes after the summer break, organisers believe that the third American football match to be played in Dublin in five years will fill the 50,000 stadium.
The GAA earlier this year abandoned their plans to host the game because they could not make it financially viable in Croke Park without significant support from Government agencies. They cited the strengthening dollar against the euro after deciding to pull out.
Last summer’s Classic between University of Central Florida and Penn State in August caused controversy, especially among Mayo fans, when it forced the All-Ireland Football semi-final between Kerry and Mayo out of Croke Park.
The stadium had been booked for the college game and because the first match between Mayo and Kerry ended in a draw they were forced to play the replay at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
In his annual report to Congress GAA director-general Páraic Duffy admitted they took a “risk” hosting the game at that time of year which had “backfired”.
Organisers of this year’s event, sponsored by Aer Lingus, expect 25,000 to travel from the USA and Europe.
The match officially kicks off the 2016-17 NCAA Division One College Football Season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Boston are making their second visit to Ireland following their 1988 venture when they defeated Army 38-24 in front of 42,000 supporters at Lansdowne Road.
Next year’s match is being organised by a new entity called Irish American Events, which is a joint venture between Irish and American travel and Event Management companies.
“College sport and particularly football has an enormous following in the US. Something like this will bring tens of thousands of Americans to the shores of Ireland,” said US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley.
Expectations of 100, 000 bed nights have been mooted as a realistic number as Boston, particularly have a vibrant alumni. The match, which is expected to take place at 12.30pm will be broadcast by ESPN to a viewership of two million Americans.
At the Thursday launch by Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD in Dublin’s Mansion House organisers said they believed that the anticipated travelling fans could be worth €56 million to the Irish economy as they typically choose to spend time outside the capital before the match takes place.
Boston College also has a campus on Dublin’s Stephen’s Green.
The price of general tickets will start at €30, although they will not go on sale for a number of months.
Tour packages from the US are available immediately as are corporate hospitality packages.
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- On August 31, 2016
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