Nebraska will be dancing an Irish jig to the tune of $250,000 when it opens the 2021 football season in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium against Illinois.
That’s the guaranteed amount the school will receive for playing the Aug. 28th, 2021 Aer Lingus Football Classic. The payment should cover Nebraska’s travel expenses and hopefully, then some, according to a copy of the contract.
While the guaranteed payment is less than the $1.25 million slated to go to Illinois, which is the designated home team, consider that visiting schools in conference road games are not paid anything to cover expenses.
Illinois’ payment covers not only its travel expenses but whatever revenue the school would generally expect to generate had the game been played in Champaign-Urbana, said Kent Brown, an athletic department spokesman.
The game, which will follow next year’s Aer Lingus Classic between Notre Dame and Navy— serves as the centerpiece of a nearly week-long series of pep rallies, parties, tailgating, and academic, cultural, business and networking events. Irish American Events Limited is hosting the game and the festivities leading up to it.
Why was Nebraska invited? “Because their following is so strong, loyal, and rabid,” said John Anthony, president and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Anthony Travel, the official travel partner for the game and a driving force in finding college teams to come to the Emerald Isle.
Anthony said in an interview that Nebraska was “very appealing and high on our list of teams from the start.” He attended the 2000 Nebraska-Notre Dame game in South Bend, where the Fighting Irish stadium turned into a sea of red.
“That’s all I needed to see,” he said, in why Nebraska was a top choice for the game in Dublin.
Illinois also was appealing because of its large alumni base both in the United States and internationally, especially in the United Kingdom, and the large number of Illinois-based companies that do business in the region, Anthony said.
The price for fans to attend this party? For now, anywhere from $2,935 per person to $4,855 per person, according to the travel packages being promoted by Anthony Travel. The collegiate sports travel management company, which has been involved in college football games in Ireland since 1996, is offering both travel packages and corporate events.
The tour packages do not include airfare. Those rates won’t generally be posted until next fall, about 11 months before the game. Aer Lingus has daily flights to Dublin from Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Football tickets can only be purchased as part of the travel packages and corporate hospitality events through Feb. 14, 2021. After that, remaining tickets will be sold without requiring tour packages through the Nebraska and Illinois ticket offices, and perhaps through brokers and other traditional outlets.