The Naval Academy Athletic Association, host of the Emerald Isle Classic American Football game on Saturday, 1st September 2012, has announced that “The Gathering Ireland” will be the Presenting Sponsor for the eagerly awaited clash between Navy and Notre Dame.
The game, being played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, will showcase one of the finest sporting traditions in American College Football and tickets sold out in less than two hours when they went on sale in Ireland a few months ago. It also marks the largest ever contingent of travelling fans for a stand-alone sporting event outside the U.S., with over 33,000 making the trip to Ireland. The game and surrounding events is set to provide an economic benefit to Ireland of up to €100 million.
The sponsorship of the Emerald Isle Classic between Navy & Notre Dame is a great fit for The Gathering Ireland 2013, which is a year-long celebration of events that will range from small get-togethers to large scale music festivals, cultural and sporting events. The Gathering Ireland 2013 is about showcasing all that is unique and great about Ireland and inspiring anyone with a connection to Ireland to visit in 2013.
Speaking about the announcement, Jim Miley, Director for The Gathering Ireland said: “We are inviting our friends from all across the world to Ireland next year for the Gathering Ireland 2013. 2013 is going to be an incredible year in Ireland with a packed calendar of local gatherings and events, some entirely new with some of the more familiar events bigger and better than ever before.
“Millions of people around the world, and particularly in America, share a connection with our country, or simply a desire to visit Ireland. We are delighted that our first ever Gathering event is in association with such a prestigious organization and one that holds such strong and long lasting connections with Ireland. The sponsorship provides us with a unique opportunity to showcase our Irish hospitality abroad and to inspire and excite people to be part of The Gathering Ireland in 2013.”
In addition to the travelling fans, the game will be seen live across the United States on both the CBS Network channel and their sports digital channel, and all over the world as ESPN America will carry the CBS feed as well. CBS Sports Network will also be broadcasting a special two-hour Emerald Isle Classic preview programme prior to kick off, and will have correspondents filing reports from Dublin and the surrounding area throughout game week. The Game is also expected to be fed to U.S. Service Men and Women deployed throughout the World via American Forces Network (AFN).
Speaking following the announcement, Chet Gladchuk, Naval Academy Director of Athletics said, “We are delighted for The Gathering Ireland to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Emerald Isle Classic. This game represents exactly what The Gathering Ireland is all about, a unique coming together in Ireland of Navy and Notre Dame college football fans, some returning to their ancestral home and some travelling for the first time to Ireland. The Emerald Isle Classic presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase Ireland to this group and also to the many millions of Americans watching the game through the broadcast.”
“This is one of our biggest rivalries and along with a great American Football game, we plan to showcase all of the game’s great traditions including pep rallies, tailgate parties, the pre-game march-on by Naval Academy Midshipmen, the Naval Academy Marching Band and our cheerleaders. With Notre Dame also bringing their Marching Band and cheerleaders, it has all the makings of a spectacular event” he added.
Tourism Ireland has been working over the past two years to maximise the number of American fans who will travel here for the game.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland has been delighted to assist in bringing this major sporting event to Dublin. Over 33,000 football fans will travel here, providing a major boost to the economy this autumn. A major promotional programme has been in place in the US targeting the large Notre Dame and Navy alumni associations, as well as team families, friends and fan bases – through online marketing, social media and promotions on Facebook. Travel packages, including game tickets and lots of suggestions for golf, city tours and longer-stay holidays, have been promoted extensively to fans in the US. The game is set to attract huge positive publicity, providing Tourism Ireland with a superb launch-pad for The Gathering Ireland 2013 across the US and a great ‘hook’ to showcase Dublin and Ireland.”
The Navy-Notre Dame series has been played annually since 1927, making it the longest uninterrupted intersectional series in college football. Navy has emerged victorious in three of the past five years making the fixture a lot more competitive after decades of Notre Dame victories.