College football fans are excited as the United States Naval Academy and Notre Dame face off in Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. This highly anticipated game, which airs on CBS, has attracted upwards of 40,000 Americans who have traveled to Dublin to witness the event firsthand.
The rivalry between these two teams is deeply rooted in history and tradition. The game has been held every year since 1927, with the exception of the COVID-19-affected season. Fans on both sides honor the significance of this matchup and the longstanding rivalry it represents.
In particular, the game holds special meaning for both institutions due to their shared history. During World War II, Notre Dame faced financial difficulties that threatened the university’s existence. The Navy intervened and used the university as a training center for its V-12 program, providing enough financial support to keep Notre Dame’s doors open.
The V-7 program, also known as the Midshipmen’s School, was established by the Navy in 1942 on the campus of Notre Dame. This program aimed to train reserve naval officers for command and involved rigorous training and orientation courses. The Navy paid Notre Dame a substantial sum of money, along with monthly stipends for enrollees, which helped sustain the university during a challenging period.
The significance of this game extends beyond the football field; it has become a cultural event that draws fans from all over the world. Aviva Stadium will be filled to capacity, with all 49,000 tickets sold well in advance. Fans from 20 different countries have purchased tickets and travel packages, including 2,000 from the United Kingdom and Europe. The remaining 7,000 attendees will be local residents of Ireland.
The economic impact of the Navy-Notre Dame game on the country of Ireland is estimated to be around 150 million Euros, equivalent to nearly $170 million. This event has captured the attention of not only football enthusiasts but also local businesses and organizations that stand to benefit from the influx of visitors.
The Naval Academy alumni have shown tremendous support for their alma mater, with many making the journey to Ireland for the game. The alumni association has even launched a “We’re More Irish” campaign to further enhance the excitement and engagement of fans. They are highlighting the connections between the Navy and Ireland, such as Commander John Barry, who is considered the “Father of the American Navy” and hailed from Wexford, Ireland.
The players themselves are also thrilled to be part of this historic game. Some, like Colin O’Connor and DJ Donovan from Navy, have deep ancestral ties to Ireland and are particularly excited to play in Dublin against Notre Dame.
Overall, the Naval Academy vs. Notre Dame matchup in Dublin has become a highly anticipated event, attracting thousands of fans from across the world. It not only showcases the enduring rivalry between these two teams but also highlights the unique bond forged between the Navy and Notre Dame during a critical period in their histories. As the game kicks off, it will undoubtedly be a memorable experience for all involved.