American College Football will return to Ireland for the ninth time with Boston College and Georgia Tech to face each other at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, on September 3 2016.
The Atlantic Coast Conference game is expected to attract a 48,000 ticket sell-out. It's also expected that 25,000 football fans will make the journey from the United States to Ireland and generate $25 million for the economy.
The Aer Lingus College Football Classic announcement was made by An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny at a Dublin reception. This was followed by a reception in Boston College in the US attended by Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh. Along with Aer Lingus as title sponsors, Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Dublin City are supporting the game. This will be the third time in five years that an American College football game will be staged in Ireland.
Speaking at the reception on Thursday, Kenny 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.”
"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."
This will be the ninth game played in Ireland. Most recently, Penn State defeated Central Florida 26-24 at Dublin's Croke Park last season. It will also be the second time that Boston College play in the country following their 1988 win over Army in front of a 42,000 crowd in the old Lansdowne Road.
Although it will be some months until general ticket sales will begin, tour packages from the US have been made immediately available, as have the corporate hospitality packages in Aviva Stadium.
Speaking about the announcement, CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons 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.
"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.”
Title sponsors Aer Lingus also believe that the game will be a massive success. 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.”
More information can be found at www.collegefootballireland.com.