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Northwestern To Open 2022 Football Season In Ireland

May 20, 2021

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern football will open the 2022 season overseas when the Wildcats meet the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 27, 2022. The Big Ten West contest will take place at Aviva Stadium in Week Zero of the college football season.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans,” said Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald ’97. “We are thrilled that our program will get to experience the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage. It’s an honor to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and we can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”

Both teams will compete for the Keough-Naughton trophy that bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton. The Wildcats are the designated home team in the matchup at Aviva Stadium, home to both the Irish rugby and soccer national teams.

“The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States. With our vaccination rollout advancing at pace, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we can begin to look forward with optimism to welcoming visitors safely back to our shores,” commented Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin. “When we do, we will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and their supporters when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.” Learn more in Martin’s welcome message.

At this time, tickets to the game are available through travel or hospitality packages. Fans can put down a $250 package deposit for a travel package to secure their game ticket section at Tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The teams will travel to Dublin a few days before the game to practice and acclimate to the different time zone, as well as enjoy various cultural experiences. The game is the first in a five-game series to be held annually as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic and will be the first Northwestern football game ever played outside the United States.

Welcoming the announcement, Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President, North America & Australia, said, “The announcement of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic for August 2022 is really good news. As we get ready to restart international tourism to the island of Ireland, the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers will deliver a very welcome boost for tourism from the United States, with about 23,000 people expected to travel here from the U.S. and Europe. Our message to the teams and their fans is that we cannot wait to roll out the ‘green carpet’ and welcome them to Dublin and Ireland. I am confident that the Aer Lingus Classic will be a truly wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions we offer as a holiday destination.”

David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer, Aer Lingus, said, “Today’s announcement is a welcome beacon of hope for travel on both sides of the Atlantic. As proud sponsor of the Aer Lingus College Football Series, we look forward to flying the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Huskers and their respective delegations to Ireland next summer, and to promoting our airline to our valued U.S. market.”

The game will be organized by Irish American Events Ltd., a joint venture between On Location and, which have been involved in college football games in Ireland previously. The other key partners who will support the game in both Ireland and America are Aer Lingus, Dublin City Council, Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. For exclusive information, please visit


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