Search icon


16th May 2024

NFL examining Dublin as a ‘feasible’ host city this Summer


“Dublin is one of those cities that we are looking at as part of that process this Summer.”

An NFL game in Ireland is taking a further step closer to reality.

This summer, the NFL’s operations team will visit Dublin to conduct a feasibility study on the city, its stadia and other elements, per NFL UK & Ireland General Manager Henry Hodgson.

Hodgson was speaking on the Pro Football Ireland podcast after the league announced its slate of games in Europe for 2024. Last year, NFL owners voted to increase the number of international games from a minimum of four per season – up to eight.

Could Ireland be part of an expanded conversation?

“For the league, it absolutely makes sense for us to explore every possible avenue and option that’s out there to play in different cities around the world,” Hodgson said. “Dublin is one of those cities that we are looking at as part of that process this summer.”

Hodgson spoke highly about the stadia that Dublin has – he recently took part in a business event in the Hogan Suite in Croke Park itself.

“I think we know about the stadiums, obviously the Aviva has hosted American Football games, hosting college football games and Croke Park has hosted NFL pre-season games before and is a historic and amazing venue.”

Ireland is notorious for its fanbases of different teams, regardless of sport. The NFL in London have no doubt that a potential game in Ireland would have no issues selling tickets to fans across the island – and around the world.

“I have no doubt that there is a fan base in Ireland that would support the games,” he said.

American Football in Ireland.

American Football is no stranger to these shores. We have a domestic league across the island and there is a college football game which takes place in the Aviva Stadium each August.

While a regular season NFL game has never taken place in Ireland, Croke Park hosted a pre-season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears at Croke Park in 1997.

Nearly thirty years on, the Steelers launched a marketing initiative on the island last year, noting a long term commitment to explore playing in Ireland. The team’s Director of Business Development & Strategy, Dan Rooney, talked about the bond at a press conference in Croke Park last summer.

“For the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ireland is a special place,” Rooney said.

“It’s part of us. It’s part of our being. We’re proud to say it’s not only part of our past, but also our future….When the opportunity arose for NFL teams to become more active in countries outside of the US, the Steelers could not have been more excited to re-establish the traditions my grandfather so proudly established here in Ireland, as well as bring new ones.”

The New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars also have marketing rights in Ireland and both, alongside the Steelers announced picks from Dublin and Kerry last month.

The Next Steps for NFL in Ireland.

After the success of the NFL’s expansion into Germany in recent years, there is no doubt that there is a demand for the game to grow here. A game in Ireland, even as a one off, would bring huge interest from domestic fans, fans around Europe and Irish-American diaspora.

For the NFL, its feasibility study will be key, liaising with stakeholders to ensure that they are on the same page. Hodgson noted that government support will also be important.

“We will need to find out what the support from a government standpoint look like for a game in Ireland.”

Something tells us that a game isn’t a lifetime away – what a day it would be in Dublin.

This article was written by Michael McQuaid and originally appeared on SportsJoe.

READ ON: 5 Irish beaches (including 3 Dublin beaches) closed due to poor water quality