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€12m tourism boost as gridiron set to touchdown

A CASH bonanza of at least €12m awaits Dublin as American Football fans descend on the city for the Croke Park Classic later this year.

Following the hugely successful Notre Dame – Navy American football game at the Aviva in 2012, Penn State will play against University of Central Florida in the country's biggest stadium on August 30.

The city's top hotels are already fully booked for the weekend.

Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn also revealed to the Herald that the football match is to be broadcast live across America.

"It's not just Dublin that will see the economic impact," Mr Quinn added, commenting that American fans will have no problem basing themselves in places like Killarney, Galway and Cork.

Croke Park told the Herald they've sold 50pc of the 69,000 tickets which went on general release at the start of December.

The spokesperson from the national stadium also said the game will become a regular calendar fixture at Croke Park with others planned for 2015 and 2016.

This American Football game is an even bigger deal than the Aviva one, the Lord Mayor claimed, as it's a competitive game and opens the season.

The Shelbourne Hotel is at maximum capacity, as is Bono's Clarence Hotel. The Westin on Westmoreland Street is fully booked and so too is the Croke Park Hotel.

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Tourism Ireland estimate that 15,000 Americans will travel here for the big game. It's hoped they'll stay more than just the one day after travelling across the Atlantic for the game. According to the tourist board, the American tourist will have an average spend of between €800 and €850, excluding air fares.

hnews@herald.ie


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