Dominating the Dublin Scene

Estimates put Croke Park Classic's impact on local economy at €30 million. Penn State fans outnumber UCF backers four to one.

DUBLIN -- In the week leading up to Saturday's Croke Park Classic between Penn State and UCF, much of the local focus was on fans of the Gaelic football teams Mayo and Kerry being “robbed” of a chance to “replay” a tied match at the venerable facility.

Mayo and Kerry finished tied in a match last week, and rather than going to overtime, the GAA opted to replay the entire match this week. But the nation's main Gaelic football facility, Croke Park, was booked with PSU vs. UCF, so Mayo vs. Kerry was shipped out to Limerick.

But for all the griping from sports columnists over the perceived snub, Dublin officials were not about to complain. According to the Irish Times, the Croke Park Classic generated more tourism money in Dublin than any event this year besides St. Patrick's Day.

According to figures compiled by the Times:

• About 20,000 overseas visitors came to Dublin for the game, including 16,000 from the United States.

• Of those 16,000, roughly 12,000 were Penn State fans and 4,000 UCF fans.

• When taking into account hotel rooms filled, meals purchased and such, the game was estimated to have €30-million impact on the local economy.

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