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College Football Returns to Dublin as Navy face Notre Dame

College Football Returns to Dublin as Navy face Notre Dame in Dublin Showdown


  • Tánaiste and Ministers Martin and Byrne welcome the return of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic


  • Tens of thousands of fans set to arrive in Dublin for Saturday’s showpiece event


  • Season opener to be broadcast to over 3 million viewers worldwide


An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD; Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD; and Minister of State with Responsibility for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD, have today (24 August 2023) welcomed the return of US College Football to Ireland as a sold-out Aviva Stadium, Dublin, plays host to Navy vs. Notre Dame in the season-opener on Saturday. Over 40,000 overseas visitors are expected to attend the game.


The Aer Lingus College Football Classic five game series is a successful and proactive public-private collaboration. The series provides a timely and welcome boost to the Irish hospitality and tourism industries, and the games show that Ireland is a very welcoming and capable host for events of this nature.


This year’s event will see the return of the teams from the University of Notre Dame and the US Naval Academy as they resume their rivalry at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The game also provides another excellent opportunity to showcase Dublin and Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions that the island of Ireland offers as a holiday destination.


An Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, said:

“I would like to convey a warm welcome to the many thousands of visitors who have travelled to Dublin to celebrate this season opener game between the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy on Saturday. In addition to being a competitive and historic football game, this sell-out occasion at the Aviva Stadium will showcase once again the hugely significant ties that bind Ireland and the United States.


“The relationship between our two countries touches every aspect of our lives. Ireland hosts a larger number of American study abroad students than from any other country – almost 12,000 every year. Close to 8,000 Irish citizens travel to the United States every year on private and Government-funded exchange opportunities. This reflects an increasingly fluid form of migration that benefits both countries enormously.


“Having the opportunity to host this game in Dublin will highlight the strong links between Ireland and the US across education, trade, culture and much more. I also look forward to welcoming the United States Secretary of the Navy during his visit to Ireland this week, as well as Congressional Delegations led by Senator Chris Murphy and Representative Pat Fallon.”


In welcoming the event Minister Martin, said:


“It is a great pleasure to welcome back the teams from Notre Dame and Navy and their thousands of fans who have travelled to our capital city for the game. This high profile fixture, which marks the start of the 2023 College Football season, will put Ireland, and Dublin in particular, in the spotlight, as it is estimated to be seen by more than 3 million viewers overseas. We are fortunate to have secured this five game series which offers the potential to position Ireland as the European home of College Football.


“I am pleased to have secured funding for Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to support the series. Large scale events such as this are an important part of driving tourism demand because they provide international and domestic visitors with another compelling reason to holiday in Ireland. I would urge the fans of both teams to take the opportunity during their stay to explore all that Ireland has to offer as a holiday destination; from our stunning scenery to our remarkable heritage and our truly amazing visitor attractions.”


Minister Byrne, added:


I am delighted to extend a very warm welcome to the supporters, players and staff of the Notre Dame and Navy College Football teams. We love sport in Ireland and it is great to see top class college football played in our country. This will be the third time these sides have played in Dublin and this year we welcome a new generation of supporters with them. I encourage everyone travelling to Dublin to take the time to enjoy Ireland to the full. These games serve to raise the profile and awareness of College Football in Ireland and Europe. I welcome the ability of the series to enable networking opportunities, facilitate further educational links between our universities and create enduring friendships.




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Notes to Editors:

  • The College Football Classic series brings two American College football teams to play a competitive game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin rather than at the home ground of one of those teams. Games like this have been hosted in the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park in past years and have been great successes. The current contest is known as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.


  • The Aer Lingus College Football Classic five-game series is a successful and proactive public-private collaboration to host five College Football games annually between 2022 and 2026. The games attract significant investment and many travelling supporters from the U.S.A. The initial game in 2022 attracted 14,900 U.S. visitors. The Notre Dame Vs Navy game will take place on 26 August 2023 and 40,000 tickets have already been sold in the USA for the event.


  • The series is estimated to be worth close to €400m to the Irish economy as per Grant Thornton and Fáilte Ireland, and is a welcome boost to the Irish hospitality and tourism industries. The 2022 game alone is estimated to have been worth €53.5 million to the Irish economy. The 2023 College Football Classic is expected by an independent report to be worth much more than this to the economy