Dublin Atop List For Next NFL Int'l Game, Strong Push From Rooney
The NFL is looking at the possibility of staging a second regular season game overseas, and Dublin "is emerging as a prime candidate," according to Haydn Parry of the BBC. Dublin "has the stadium, Croke Park, the home of Gaelic games," which has an 82,500 capacity. It also has an "ideal advocate in the form of the U.S. ambassador to Dublin," Dan Rooney, who is also the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooney family trace their roots back to Newry, County Down. It is "hard to think of a stronger candidate to lobby for bringing a regular season NFL game to Ireland." Rooney said that he has already lobbied NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell, "playing hard on the fact that Goodell's family heritage also happens to be Irish." Rooney: "I think sometime very soon it will happen, and I think the commissioner is interested in working something out and, sure, I'd like to see the Steelers involved." NFL CMO Mark Waller explained that there are a lot of "boxes to tick before a venue is even deemed a feasible choice as host." Waller: "We need stadiums that have availability in the middle of our season and the soccer season. We also need them to be large, able to take the levels of hospitality and corporate entertainment that we generate." A college football game between Notre Dame and Navy is being played in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium in September, and it is already sold out -- "proof of the passion" for football in Ireland (BBC, 6/20). Rooney added the Int'l Series "has proven very, very successful. In fact, that game sells out almost as soon as they put the tickets up." Rooney: "The interest (in Dublin) in sports is, as it is in London, quite strong" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 6/20).