Monday 5 December 2016

"Future American Football Games at Croke Park will require state funding" - Peter McKenna

Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30

The GAA attracted criticism last August when the hosting of University of Central Florida and Penn State (pictured) forced the Kerry-Mayo All-Ireland semi-final replay on the road to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
The GAA attracted criticism last August when the hosting of University of Central Florida and Penn State (pictured) forced the Kerry-Mayo All-Ireland semi-final replay on the road to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

Future American Football College games will require state funding if they are to proceed in Croke Park, stadium director Peter McKenna has said.

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The plug was pulled last week on another planned Croke Park Classic in 2016 between Boston College and Georgia Tech because of its financial viability.

Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna confirmed that are no discussions for similar American Football games in the future but hasn't ruled out that they will return
Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna confirmed that are no discussions for similar American Football games in the future but hasn't ruled out that they will return

The fall in the value of the euro against the dollar created too many risks, McKenna pointed out.

He confirmed there are no discussions for similar American Football games in the future but he hasn't ruled out that they will return.

"We have to have all parties aligned," he said. "If you are relying on one individual body like ourselves taking all of the risk and the currency starts to move against you, that is just not sustainable.

"We see this as an important aspect in terms of building up the profile of Croke Park.

"It's also a massive boost to the tourism industry and we need to see it as such rather than an ad hoc approach."

McKenna estimated that the value of last year's 'Classic' between UCF and Penn State was ¤30m to the economy.

McKenna said there was irony in the fact that a stronger dollar would draw more Americans in to Dublin for such an event. But he outlined that not all games were profitable.

"If we ran a series of four games over an eight or 10-year period, one game is going to be very successful, two games will probably be break-even or marginally profitable and one will need support," he said.

A Navy/Notre Dame game is very profitable because 35,000 to 40,000 Americans will travel but Boston v Georgia Tech was going to be more challenging.

Read more: GAA scrap plans for Croke Park American Football match

Irish Independent

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