American football in Irish touchdown

Published Friday, 31 August 2012
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Around 35,000 American football fans have flown into Dublin for this weekend's Emerald Isle Classic, generating a massive boost for Irish tourism.

American football in Irish touchdown
Tens of thousands of fans have arrived in Ireland. (© Getty)

An extra 36 transatlantic flights had to be put on to cope with and influx of visitors ahead of Saturday's clash between Notre Dame and Naval Academy at the Aviva Stadium.

The average spend is estimated at around €2,500 - with a total of around €60m expected to be pumped into Ireland's economy.

"This is one of the most significant tourism events of the year, and we can expect to see a huge economic impact," said the Republic's Tourism Minister, Leo Varadkar.

"Large numbers of fans came early and booked their holidays around the event. All of them are staying in Dublin at some stage but many have also been touring the country for the last week, playing golf, fishing, and many other activities."

Hotel operators have reported a "phenomenal" surge in business.

'It's had a massive impact on occupancy with people coming over before the match and travelling all over the country," said Irish Hotels Federation CEO Tim Fenn.

"There has been a phenomenal boost to numbers."

The game marks the start of the American football season and is only the second Dame v Navy contest held outside the US - the last being at Croke Park in 1996.

It will be televised in 63 countries, including by CBS Sports in America, and officials are hopeful it will help promote Irish tourism worldwide.

Dublin Chamber Chief Executive, Gina Quin, said: "It's going to be an excellent opportunity to show off what Ireland has to offer tourist and businesses alike."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (884 days ago):
American football is a great game and is becoming more and more popular in Ireland. Good to know theres alot of Americans visiting, you always have a good time when out with Americans lol their great people.
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