Dublin’s Croke Park pushing for NFL game in Ireland

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The news that the NFL will play two games at Wembley Stadium in London next year came as a disappointment to some in Ireland, who thought that if the NFL was ready for a second game across the pond, it should have been at Croke Park in Dublin.

Croke Park, a stadium that seats 82,300 and hosted the 1996 Notre Dame-Navy college football game, is disappointed not to get an NFL game next year, stadium director Peter McKenna told the Irish Examiner.

“I think our bid stands on its own and we’re still going to continue to lobby and push for Dublin as being a venue in the future,” McKenna said. “Part of the pitch is that we’ve been very successful in hosting major events as a country heretofore. . . . I think the merits of our bid haven’t diminished. We were unfortunate this time but never say never.”

Dan Rooney, the American ambassador to Ireland whose family owns the Steelers, said he believes the NFL will have a regular-season game in Ireland eventually. Just not next year.

11 responses to “Dublin’s Croke Park pushing for NFL game in Ireland

  1. The college game in 2012 was not hosted in Croke Park. It was Lansdowne Road.

    Ridiculous that the NFL is putting 2 games in Wembley in 2013. Silly move. No chance they get near selling out both.

    2nd game should be in Dublin or Germany.

  2. Croke Park didn’t host the Notre Dame v Navy game this year, The Aviva Stadium did….

    Michael David Smith: Thanks. I corrected that. It was ’96 that Croke Park hosted Notre Dame-Navy.

  3. “Dan Rooney, the American ambassador to Ireland whose family owns the Steelers, said he believes the NFL will have a regular-season game in Ireland eventually.”

    See, there’s something that bugs me about Robert Kraft (owner of the Patriots) and Dan Rooney (owner of the Steelers) advocating for overseas games in England and Ireland.

    They keep pushing the league to have more overseas games, but they don’t volunteer their teams as the “home” team for those games.
    For example, the Patriots fly to England this year for a game, but it counts as an away game for them. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Rams are labeled as the “home” team, so in effect, the Rams get has 1 less game with true homefield advantage compared to its division and conference rivals, which hurts their playoff chances, especially in the super competitive NFC West this year.

    If these owners think it’s important to play overseas – fine, but their teams should be the ones to lose homefield advantage for a game. And if they don’t like that trade-off because it’s an unfair disadvantage, then guess what?
    They shouldn’t have regular season games that count overseas.

  4. I think the NFL are using the Wembley games to test the water for a franchise. I’m sure Croke Park would love to host a game, as would many other venues, but in terms of a franchise outside the US, the UK is the most likely to be successful.
    The game is growing in the UK at a fantastic rate with TV viewing figures going up exponentially and participation in the sport, from adult to child levels, is also growing at a healthy rate.
    I’m not convinced Ireland, Germany or any other country other than the UK could provide a sustainable following for a franchise.

  5. If Rooney thinks the NFL should have a game in Ireland maybe he should have his team give up a home game and play it in Ireland.

  6. As an Irish NFL fan, this would be obviously a dream come true. Few points about this article however:

    1. The aviva with 50000 seating hosted the college game not croke park.

    2. Croke park is not an all seater stadium (not fully familiar with all seating rules) it is 3 quarters seating but temporary seating has been erected for previous soccer and rugby games. This will mean capacity won’t be the full amount but should still easily exceed aviva.

    3. Some people posting before mentioned croke park being someway sacred but we have allowed rugby and soccer be played these before and gotten rid of the regulation that used prevent it. And it has been hugely successful.

    4. Yes the following is here in Ireland and we will sell it out, with or without the Americans who will obviously travel along with European fans.

    5. The lone standing part aside which holds huge historical significance (its named after one of our rebellions) the stadium is state of the art and is the 5th largest in Europe. (I think, its definitely in the top 7 or 8)

    6. I can fully understand Americans wanting the games kept at home, I’d feel the same, but your sport is growing at a ridiculous rate across the Atlantic support wise and who knows it could in years result in what would be the best league in the world of any sport. And on that thanks for the Wembley games trust me they’ve been fully appreciated.

  7. There is no issue with playing an NFL game in Croker. It has hosted american football before. The sooner the NFL forgets about a franchise in Europe the better. In my opinion it is not a runner for many reasons, they are better off cashing in on a regular season game per season in various locations.

  8. The NFL is playing games in the UK because it is a major global market in which they feel they can increase the value of the league. It was their biggest overseas market for TV rights even before hosting games there.

    In market terms of TV households, the Republic of Ireland is about the same size as the Denver DMA. The population of the Republic is only a little more than half that of London alone. While a game at Croke Park may be profitable, it would have no lasting benefit to the league.

    It was also reported in the Irish press that of the almost 50,000 who attended the Notre Dame game at the Aviva Stadium, around 35,000 of them came over from the US. The country courted the game for that very reason.

    There is no business reason why the league would want to play in Ireland. And the league makes business decisions not sentimental ones.

  9. Is playing a game in Germany a sentimental decision too then?. BS. The 2nd game should be played around Europe….. the Wembley game is attended by thousands travelling from mainland Europe and Ireland. You want to increase the value of the league?, then play the games all over the world.

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