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University Of Illinois & University Of Nebraska To Play In Dublin In 2021

Aer Lingus College Football Classic

The University of Illinois and the University of Nebraska will battle it out at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in the 2021 edition of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. 

At a press conference in the City of Champaign, Illinois today, it was confirmed that the game will take place on Saturday, August 28th, 2021.

This will be the first time that either team has travelled to Ireland and it follows on from the previous announcement that Navy and Notre Dame will kick-off the five-year series in 2020 when they meet at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 29th August.

Aer Lingus College Football Classic
Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs the ball during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois

With Illinois having significant links with Ireland and the fact that Nebraska are one of the most successful American College Football teams, it promises to be a memorable occasion with 25,000 fans expected to travel to Dublin for the game. 

The five-game series, sponsored by Aer Lingus, Ireland’s only 4 Star airline, kicks off with the return of the Navy vs Notre Dame which will take place on Saturday 29th August 2020 and is expected to generate €250 million direct economic windfall for the country over the coming years. Fans are expected to travel in droves to the game similarly to in 2012 when over 35,000 fans travelled from the US to the Aviva Stadium for the Navy v Notre Dame fixture.

Speaking about the announcement, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. said:

“It’s great to see new teams getting involved in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Ten of thousands of fans are expected to make the journey for each game in the series over the next five years, bringing with them a huge boost for the economy.

“Illinois and Nebraska players and fans can look forward to the best of Irish hospitality. The series will showcase Ireland as a location for international events and tournaments and put our world-leading tourism sector front and centre. The 2020 game between Notre Dame and Navy is fast approaching and now sports fans have another great occasion to plan for in 2021.”

Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter

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