Croke Park’s game changer
Last September’s Navy-Notre Dame game at the Aviva Stadium proved to be a great success
After the success of the Navy-Notre Dame American Football match at the Aviva last year, hoteliers and others in the tourist industry here must be licking their lips at the prospect of Dublin hosting another college game in August 2014.
This time around it is the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Penn State facing off at Croke Park, after the GAA won the right to host their season opener.
It’s a bold move by the GAA, which is hoping to attract a crowd of 69,000 for the game. It is understood that the association had to pay the guts of €2 million to secure the match and needs a crowd of about 30,000 to break even.
That many fans alone are expected to travel from the US for the match. The Navy-Notre Dame game generated about €100 million for the economy last year so the potential rewards are big.
“There’s going to be a great turnout from both cities,” UCF coach George O’Leary told One More Thing at the official launch at Croke Park last Sunday. “I think half [the 69,000 capacity] can come from Penn State/UCF, maybe more.”
O’Leary, who has Irish roots, was also mightily impressed by Croker. “It’s a great venue, especially for an amateur sport. If it’s not a national monument, it should be.”