THE CHANCES OF Croke Park hosting a high-profile American Football game next year have been boosted after a successful visit from NFL representatives last week.
The group arrived in Dublin before inspecting GAA headquarters on Friday and according to US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, there is every chance that the Irish capital will be chosen to host a match.
“They thought that the stadium itself was excellent and the professional manner in which is run impresses them,” said Rooney, speaking on Newstalk’s sports programme Off The Ball.
“Nothing is definite yet, but they thought it would be very very good to do come to Dublin – It’s a great stadium and a great city that people want to come to.”
After seeing how well games at London’s Wembley Stadium have gone, NFL chiefs are looking to bring their franchise to another major European city – with Frankfurt, Munich and Murrayfield all mooted as possibilities.
Rooney, whose family own the Pittsburgh Steelers, claimed it would most likely be March before a decision was finalised but made no secret of his desire to see the Steelers in Dublin.
“I would like it to be the Steelers. The league does want it to be a success and I think the Steelers would generate more interest here than anywhere else.”
However, he added that it would have to be an away game as it is written into the club’s contract that they must play every game in the city.
“There are a number of clubs who would be willing to give up a game and I don’t think that would be a major stumbling block,” he added.
An NFL spokesman told TheScore last week that the visit to Drumcondra would be one of several stop-offs on officials’ tour of Europe.
“There are no negotiations taking place at this time with NFL teams or with officials in Dublin about playing a game there. Members of our international business staff are surveying a half dozen potential stadium sites this week in the London area, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland,” he said.
Earlier, league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that the Irish capital was very much on the NFL’s agenda.