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UCF football will make profit on Croke Park Classic, says athletic director

UCF will make a profit off the Croke Park Classic, according to UCF athletic director Todd Stansbury.

Stansbury said he's expecting the school to make what it would normally net during a home game at Bright House Networks Stadium.

All UCF's expenses were paid for by the Gaelic Athletic Association except for media transportation to and from practice 30 minutes outside of Dublin to the Carton House.

"We won’t know until it’s all said and done, but it will be probably in the mid to high six figures," Stansbury said Friday morning. "I think from a financial standpoint, this was a very beneficial project for us to take on."

GAA administrators said it was a worthy investment. They expect an estimated $40 million dollar economic boost in Dublin from tourists visting the area. Aside from the 35,000 Irish locals who will visit downtown for the Croke Park Classic Saturday, there are 16,000 Americans and 4,000 Europeans - mostly from Germany, France and London - who traveled to Dublin.

Similar to Florida Citrus Sports, which has contracts to host bowl games, the GAA is a private organization that collects funding from membership, ticket revenue, TV deals, sponsorship and clothing licensing. Like the NCAA, all sports under the GAA umbrella are amateur sports and athletes are not paid. According to Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna, the GAA recycles 86 percent of its revenue back to the community.

"We’re really enthused about getting children out to play, getting communities engaged and together," McKenna said. 

Paraic Duffy, director general for the GAA, said the total sponsorship to UCF was about a couple million euros, but he did not give a specific amount.

"We do believe there's a market here for a game once a year or at least once every two years and we would like to host those games. So if people have a good experience this time, if the schools go back and say Croke Park is a good place to go, other schools will say, yeah, we've gotta go to Dublin that would be nice for our players," Duffy said. "That's what we hope for in the future."

E-mail Shannon Owens-Green at Follow her on Twitter at @osknights

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