It is all systems go for this September’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic in the Aviva Stadium between Boston College and Georgia Tech with tickets, going on general sale through Ticketmaster next Wednesday, April 6th. Ticket sales to date, predominantly in the United States are in excess of 20,000 and all the indications are that the game on Saturday, September 3rd will be a complete sell out as the Navy vs Notre Dame was in 2012, an event that brought a direct economic benefit of over €85 million to Ireland. An update on the plans for game-week were announced at a reception in Trinity College Dublin’s Dining Hall today.
Boston College and Georgia Tech will compete for the inaugural ‘Keough-Naughton’ Trophy which has been designed and crafted by Waterford Crystal.
Under the banner, “Much More than a Game”, the 2016 Classic organisers, Irish American Events, today announced that Trinity College Dublin will be the venue for the official Welcome Village and as such will host a variety of social, cultural and business-oriented activities. In addition to over 100 football squad members per team, Boston College and Georgia Tech are both travelling with a 150 piece strong marching band and cheer-leading troops and the renowned pre-game pep rallies and tailgate parties will be among the many highlights to take place at the 2016 Classic head-quarters, Trinity College Dublin.
The game will be broadcast live by ESPN globally however talks are also progressing for ESPN to broadcast their immensely popular flagship sports news programme SportsCentre live from Dublin for over three hours prior to kick off – showcasing the immense benefit the game will have for Ireland on an international stage.
The Welcome Village will also play host to three profile High School games in front of a grandstand stadium in the grounds of Trinity College Dublin. The games, which will take place on Friday 2nd September, are:
• Westminster School, Atlanta, Georgia Vs Community School Naples, Naples Florida
• Blessed Trinity High School, Atlanta Georgia Vs St. Peter's Prep School, Jersey City, New Jersey
• Marist High School, Atlanta, Georgia Vs Belen Jesuit High School, Miami, Florida
As part of Game-week 2016 (August 31st to September 4th), there will be a series of high-profile business, cultural and educational events throughout the City. On Wednesday, August 31st, Senator George Mitchell will be the keynote speaker at the Irish Institute Alumni event; On Thursday, September 1st there will be a joint high-level faculty symposium ‘University and the Innovation Economy’, comprising of senior political, academic and business leaders held at the Burke Theatre of Trinity College Dublin.
On Friday September 2nd, one of the undoubted business highlights of the week’s events will the Boston College Chief Executives Club Global Forum which will be held at Dublin’s Mansion House and will be the first time this prestigious organization has held one of their events outside of the United States and will bring a gathering of global leaders from Boston, Atlanta, Europe and Ireland.
Several times each year, Boston’s business leaders gather at Boston College's Chief Executives Club, long recognized as one of the USA’s premier business forums. The keynote speakers at these events are CEOs drawn from the top echelons of their fields – thought leaders who welcome the opportunity to address an audience of their peers. Among the recent speakers are Disney’s Bob Iger, Nike’s Mark Parker, IBM's Virginia Rometty, Travis Kalanick of Uber, Virgin’s Richard Branson and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft.
Making the announcement that the Global Forum would be taking place in Dublin, Warren Zola, the Executive Director of the Boston CEO Club revealed that Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Coca Cola Company will be the key-note speaker at the Mansion House.The Global Forum in Dublin will be co-hosted by Neil Naughton, Deputy Chairman of Glen Dimplex, and Jay Hooley, Chairman and CEO of State Street Corporation.
Provost and President of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “We are delighted to be playing host to the official Welcome Village for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech that will also involve a range of social and business activities, as well as a series of American High School games. With more than 5,000 Trinity alumni living in the US, Trinity has extremely strong connections with the Irish community there. I look forward to welcoming American students, their families and friends to Trinity in September in what promises to be a fun filled sporting event. This is also an opportunity for us to strengthen our educational links with high schools and universities across the country. Trinity has had a long history of receiving students from top institutions across the US. Ireland is the sixth highest receiver of American study abroad students in the world. For most of our American students, the motivation to study at Trinity is rooted in a spirit of adventure and a desire for a truly international education at a world class University.”
Speaking at the event in Trinity College Dublin, Game Promoter, Padraic O’Kane, said that with five months to go all the signs pointed towards another great US College Football occasion similar to the Navy vs Notre Dame game in 2012. “20,000 tickets are sold and they continue to sell strongly in the US, next Wednesday we open ticket sales up to an Irish, European and global audience. Corporate Boxes have sold out and corporate hospitality is almost fully filled so we are confident that by the time the teams arrive in September we will have a full house at the Aviva Stadium”.
“It has always been our ambition that these College Football Classic games should be much more than a game insofar as they provide an opportunity to celebrate the business and economic ties we have with the United States. The business-oriented, networking and education programme that is developing around the game in September will have long lasting benefits for Ireland. We are particularly delighted to welcome the Boston College Chief Executives Club for their first ever meeting outside the US. Dublin has become the European home for College Football and this game and the surrounding events will be one of the largest events to take place in Ireland this year.”
Keith Butler, Aer Lingus Chief Commercial Officer said: “We are very proud to partner with Irish American Events, Boston College and Georgia Tech for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in 2016. North America is an extremely important market for Aer Lingus and this summer we will operate our largest ever schedule between there and Ireland which will see Aer Lingus planes crossing the Atlantic 30 times each day, with six of these flights arriving at or departing from Boston. September 3rd not only promises to be a fantastic day of sport but serves to enhance Dublin’s reputation as an international tourism destination. We look forward to offering guests a warm welcome on board our flights in September.”