€20m boost as fans pour in for UEFA final
THOUSANDS of soccer fans travelling for the UEFA Europa League Final tomorrow will pump up to €20m into the capital's struggling economy.
Although some tickets are still available for the game, organisers expect the 50,000-seat Aviva Stadium to be at near capacity.
The all-Portuguese final between FC Porto and SC Braga kicks off at 7.45pm .
Up to 60 million television viewers are expected to tune in as Dublin hosts a European club football final for the first time.
Organiser and FAI adviser Declan Conroy said it was a "mammoth operation" to prepare the Aviva Stadium -- renamed the Dublin Arena for the event -- with 1,000 media personnel expected to descend on Dublin 4.
"There has been five site visits from UEFA in the last 12 months, with up to 50 people in each," he said. "There will be 70 cameras and 52 broadcasters from 20 countries, including Japan, Sweden and Russia.
"They'll broadcast to 19 satellites, and there'll be the first ever use of spider camera in Ireland which allows the players to be tracked.
''There's €75m worth of television equipment here. There's been daily meetings for the past few weeks, it's a mammoth operation."
The FAI and Dublin City Council applied for the hosting rights in November 2007 when the stadium was still under construction, and beat off opposition from the Emirates stadium in London, Schalke in Germany and Bucharest in Romania.
Karl Mitchell from Dublin City Council said that the match would benefit the economy and show what Dublin could offer in terms of hosting major events.
"The 2007 final was estimated to be worth £20m for Glasgow, and on top of that, 55pc of fans who travelled to the game said they would return," he said.
Eleven hotels in the Dublin area have been booked to accommodate UEFA officials, media personnel and sponsors.
Up to 60 chartered flights will take an estimated 16,000 football fans from Portugal to Dublin, and Dublin Bus and a fleet of private coaches will take fans from the airport to two 'fan zones' close to the stadium -- one at the Point Depot for SC Braga with the second at the RDS for FC Porto.