Northwestern Wildcats will take on Nebraska Cornhuskers at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on August 27, 2022, for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

The Aer Lingus College Football five-game series was due to start in 2020 but was disrupted due to the pandemic, so today's announcement is a significant milestone in getting the series back on track.

Let the countdown begin! The @cfbireland returns to @AVIVAStadium in August 2022, and it’s going to be a weekend unlike any other. @NUFBFamily vs. @HuskerFBNation
27 August 2022

— Aer Lingus College Football Classic (@cfbireland) May 20, 2021

The wholly anticipated fixture is scheduled for week zero, and as both teams are a part of the famed Big Ten Conference, over 18,000 US fans and 5,000 European fans are expected to travel for the game that will be a major international, post-pandemic event for Ireland.

It is expected that the event will generate a massive €63 million for the Irish economy next year, providing a much-needed boost for the country’s Tourism and Hospitality sectors.

The University of Nebraska fans are renowned for taking over stadiums, home and away, with their famous “Sea of Red”, and so with this trip to Dublin, natives can expect to see more red than ever before in the country.

iRElanDDDD@HuskerFBNation is kicking off 2022 across the pond.

☘️ »

— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) May 20, 2021

The Northwestern Wildcats are also known as "Chicago's Big Ten Team" due to its proximity to Chicago which makes for a great celebration amongst the Irish spectators, with the high number of the population with close connections and roots in the US city that are so highly valued.

Bringing the Purple to The Emerald Isle ☘️

See you in August 2022, @cfbireland.


— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) May 20, 2021

The specially commissioned Waterford Crystal trophy is the perpetual prize for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. The Keough-Naughton trophy bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton.

The Keough-Naughton Trophy.

The Keough-Naughton Trophy.

The Series principal stakeholders are Aer Lingus, Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, and Dublin City Council.

Pat Fitzgerald, the Dan & Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach at Northwestern University, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans. 

“We are thrilled that our program will get to immerse themselves into the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage. It’s an honor to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime experience and can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”

Shipping off to Dublin. See you there in August 2022! ☘️🇮🇪#GoCats | @cfbireland

— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) May 20, 2021

Bill Moos, Nebraska Athletic Director, said: “We are excited to reschedule the trip to Ireland for our football program. The young men in our program have been looking forward to this trip and we are happy to provide them this memorable experience. 

“I know our great Husker fan base will be excited as well and the opportunity to travel to Ireland to see their team compete on an international stage will truly be special. I also want to thank Irish American Events for being a great partner throughout this process the past couple years. We were pleased Northwestern was willing to move a home game to Ireland and look forward to a great season opener in Ireland in 2022.”

Second Time’s a Charm ☘️🎈#thegoodlife

— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) May 20, 2021

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin commenting on the announcement: “The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States. With our vaccination rollout advancing at pace, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we can begin to look forward with optimism to welcoming visitors safely back to our shores.

"When we do, we will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and their supporters when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on the 27th of August 2022.”

Padraic O’Kane from Irish American Events Ltd. said: “The announcement of next year’s game marks a major milestone in both the recovery of major tourism and sporting events for Ireland along with the wider economy.

"On behalf of our stakeholders, we are delighted to welcome the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Husker’s game, and later this year we plan to announce a further game for 2023, the second in the five-game Aer Lingus College Football series. As organisers in consultation with our stakeholders, the absolute priority is to ensure that players, staff, alumni, and fans will be awarded our famous Irish welcome within a safe environment for their visit to Ireland next year.”

David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer, Aer Lingus, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome beacon of hope for travel on both sides of the Atlantic. As proud sponsor of the Aer Lingus College Football Series, we look forward to flying the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Huskers, and their respective delegations to Ireland next summer, and to promoting our airline to our valued US market.”

Hazel Chu, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, said: “I am thrilled with the announcement of the 2022 Aer Lingus College Football Classic in the Aviva Stadium.

"The benefit for our city, both economically and socially, will be immense, providing a welcome boost for the tourism and hospitality industries. Such events strengthen our ties with other great nations, showcasing Dublin as a premier hosting destination and after a challenging year gives great optimism to the Country for the months ahead.”

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: "The announcement of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic for August 2022 is really good news. As we get ready to restart international tourism to the island of Ireland, the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Huskers will deliver a very welcome boost for tourism from the United States, with about 23,000 people expected to travel here from the US and Europe.

"Our message to the teams and their fans is that we cannot wait to roll out the ‘green carpet’ and welcome them to Dublin and Ireland. I am confident that the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be a truly wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions we offer as a holiday destination.”

Paul Keeley, Director of Regional Development, Fáilte Ireland, said: “This announcement will provide a welcome boost for the tourism and hospitality sector especially in Dublin which has been hit hard by the pandemic. We will be thrilled to welcome the teams and their supporters to our capital city when they visit in 2022.  

"These games are of critical importance to our economy, not just in Dublin but regionally too, as fans will travel and visit other parts of Ireland. The millions of fans watching the game in the US will also provide Ireland with a valuable opportunity to showcase our ability to host large-scale international sporting tournaments while also reaching out to viewers – and potential visitors – in one of our key markets.”

Hospitality packages for the 2022 Aer Lingus College Football Classic are on sale now through the official corporate hospitality game partner Travel packages are on sale through the official travel partner On Location in partnership with Abbey Group Ireland. Corporate group ticketing opportunities will also be launched towards the end of the year. General ticketing information to be released in due course, with a pre-sale sign-up option available on the official game website.

The Aer Lingus College Football Series will be bringing the usual college football fanfare with it, so attendees can expect lots of fun events including marching bands, cheerleaders, and tailgating parties. For exclusive information see  College Football Ireland and follow College Football Ireland on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and follow the hashtag #MuchMoreThanAGame.