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09 Oct 2019

ESPN’s College GameDay show to broadcast from Dublin in 2020 ahead of Aer Lingus College Football Classic

~ Tourism Ireland to sponsor pre-game show, reaching approximately 2 million US viewers ~

American college football is set to return to Ireland in 2020. On 29 August, two of the biggest names in college football – Navy and Notre Dame – will go head to head, kicking off the 2020 college football season at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
ESPN has announced that it will broadcast its famous College GameDay show from Dublin – marking the first time ever that the programme will broadcast from outside the United States. College Gameday is a three-hour, pre-game show, broadcast by ESPN – which averages almost 2 million viewers.
Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus will sponsor the College GameDay broadcast from Dublin on 29 August. As well as setting the scene for the eagerly-anticipated game in the Aviva Stadium, the three-hour show will feature lots of great footage of Dublin and Ireland, our scenery and experiences. Tourism Ireland’s ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ TV ad will also air during the College GameDay show and during the actual game broadcast. The promotions on TV will be complemented by extensive social media activity about Ireland – on the various social platforms of the show and its presenters (all have significant following). 
As well as sponsoring the College GameDay broadcast from Dublin on 29 August, Tourism Ireland will roll out a programme of promotional activity in the US over the coming months, to leverage the tourism benefits of the Notre Dame v Navy game in Dublin. Tourism Ireland will be encouraging fans, friends and alumni to come to Ireland for the games and to extend their stay here, before or afterwards. The last time Navy took on Notre Dame in Dublin was in 2012, when more than 35,000 Americans travelled here for the game.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “The Aer Lingus College Football Classic is excellent news for Irish tourism – with both Navy and Notre Dame set to bring thousands of fans with them to Ireland next summer. Our aim is to maximise the promotion of, and attendance at, the game – and to encourage fans, friends and alumni to come for the game and to extend their stay in Ireland, before or afterwards.
“The ESPN College GameDay broadcast from Dublin will deliver a longer-term benefit, showcasing Ireland and our wonderful experiences to around 2 million viewers across the US. Our message for college football fans is that the island of Ireland is a great place to visit, where they’re guaranteed a wonderful holiday and the warmest of welcomes.
“Sport-related tourism has emerged as a very significant element in world tourism in recent years, with a multi-million euro market and a huge potential for countries who position themselves correctly. High profile sporting events, such as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, provide Tourism Ireland with an excellent opportunity to highlight the island of Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination, as well as a top location for sporting events.”
Tourism Ireland’s promotions to date have included a specially created page on its website,; ads on Facebook and relevant websites; as well as direct marketing to Notre Dame fans and alumni. Since this year’s college football season kicked off last month, a video ad for Ireland is running on big screens at all Notre Dame and Navy games (this includes footage captured at the 2012 game in Dublin); other activity will include ads in programmes distributed at games, as well as radio ads.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing around 325,000 people across the island.
  • In 2018, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+5% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €5.86 billion (+5%).
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.