For the 3rd time in five years, a high profile American college football game will take place in Ireland, with the announcement today that the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech will take place in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016.
The game was announced at a reception in Dublin attended by An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny TD, which was followed by a reception in Boston College in the U.S. attended by the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh.
Aer Lingus was also announced as Title-Sponsor for the game that will see the Boston College Eagles kick off their 2016/17 NCAA Division I College Football Season in an Atlantic Coast Conference game against the formidable Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Dublin City Council are also supporting the game.
Event organisers are confident the game will be a 48,000 ticket sellout. It is expected that 25,000 will travel from the US and Europe to the game. While general ticket sales are still some months away, tour packages in the US have gone on sale today and are expected to sell quickly while corporate hospitality facilities at Aviva Stadium have also gone on sale and they too are likely to sell out. Further details can be found on http://www.collegefootballireland.com.
Speaking at the announcement An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was delighted that College Football was returning to Ireland; “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”.
Commenting on the game sponsorship, Aer Lingus Chief Executive Stephen Kavanagh said, “We are very proud to partner with Boston College and Georgia Tech for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in 2016. Aer Lingus operates three daily services from Boston connecting to Ireland and beyond and we are delighted to support our local team. 2016 is a very special year for Aer Lingus as we will celebrate our 80th anniversary. We look forward to offering guests a warm welcome on board our flights, and we wish the organisers all the best in their preparations for what promises to be a great sporting event.”
Boston College will be making its second football visit to Ireland; in 1988 Boston College played and defeated Army 38-24 in front of a 42,000 crowd in the old Lansdowne Road. Speaking about the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic, Fr. William P Leahy expressed his delight at the opportunity for Boston College to return to Ireland for another College Football game “Our history and our connections with Ireland are well known, we are very proud of our campus on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. 2016 is a very special year in Ireland’s history and we are particularly pleased that we will be travelling with hopefully tens of thousands Boston College supporters to share in those celebrations and enjoy this important conference game with Georgia Tech”.
Welcoming today’s announcement, 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.”
The game is being organised by a new entity called Irish American Events Ltd which is a joint venture between Corporate.ie and Anthony Travel who have been involved in the recent college football games in Ireland.
See www.collegefootballireland.com for details on the Aer Lingus College Football Classic and follow the game on social media: Twitter (@CFBireland), Facebook (facebook.com/collegefootballireland), and Instagram (@CFBireland).