World’s fastest field sport returns to Fenway Park for the first time since 1954 as two of the sport’s biggest teams – Dublin and 2015 All-Ireland Finalist Galway – compete on the pitch at the iconic ballpark; American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys to perform as part of the Irish Festival
BOSTON, MA (September 15, 2015) – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, along with Fenway Sports Management (FSM), American International Group (AIG), the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) announced that the sport of hurling will return to Fenway Park for the first time in more than 60 years with the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival on November 22, 2015.
2015 All-Ireland Finalist Galway will take-on Dublin in an exhibition comprising some of the top hurling players from the Emerald Isle. Hurling, believed to be the world’s oldest field game, combines agility, strength and intensity to make it one of the fastest paced games played.
“Boston and Ireland have such a strong connection and it is thrilling to see one of the country’s native games will be played on our city’s most beloved ball park,” said Boston Mayor Walsh. “Hurling is among the most exhilarating games played in the world and our city is proud to host one of Ireland’s most traditional sports.”
One of Ireland’s native Gaelic Games, Hurling shares a number of similarities to Gaelic football, such as the field and goals. Hurlers use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar (pronounced slitter) between the opponents’ goalposts either over the crossbar (1 point) or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper (3 points). For the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, the two teams will play a modified version of hurling called “Super 11’s” which reduces the pitch to 11 players and the only way to score is under the crossbar into the net.
“Hurling is one of the most electrifying sports in the world and we think fans are going to enjoy watching all the fast-paced action as two of the most accomplished and talented teams compete right here on the pitch at Fenway Park,” said Fenway Sports Management President Sam Kennedy. “We are always looking for opportunities to bring new and exciting events into Fenway and whether you’re a fan of hurling or new to the sport the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival promises to be a great event.”
AIG has been an official sponsor to the Dublin GAA since November 2013 and has been committed to raising the profile of hurling and other Gaelic Games to a broader global audience.
“We are very excited to bring the game of hurling to a legendary venue for our fans and introduce the game to new fans in the United States,” said Ronald Willett, President, Northeast Zone, AIG. “The All-Ireland Final draws interest from all over the world and we hope this event will help continue to grow the fan base of hurling globally.”
Tickets for the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival go on-sale on Thursday, September 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The event will also be streamed live for hurling fans globally on www.redsox.com/irishfestival.
“Following a very successful All-Ireland Final where we drew 82,000 in attendance and had an audience of over two million people watching globally, we could not be more thrilled to bring hurling to one of the most iconic American sports venues in Fenway Park,” said GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell. “Dublin and Galway will put on a fantastic display for the spectators, showcasing the wonderful skills and courage of hurling and will help further the growth and interest of hurling in the US.”
GAA Director General Paraic Duffy added, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase what is commonly viewed as Ireland’s national game on the coveted stage that is Fenway Park. Our games have never enjoyed a higher profile outside Ireland and knowing the importance of Fenway Park to American sports fans, we hope this event involving two of our top teams will further elevate the status of our game to sporting enthusiasts across the city and further afield.”
In addition to the Hurling Classic, AIG and FSM have teamed up to offer attendees a lively Irish festival complete with Irish food, music, and dancing. The Irish Festival will be highlighted by a unique performance by Boston-based American Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys. The Dropkick Murphys’ connection with Fenway Park and the Red Sox began in 2004 when the band wrote and recorded “Tessie” and it became the anthem for the Red Sox first World Series Championship in 86 years. Additional details about the Irish Festival will be continuously posted at the event website. For more details on the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival and ticket information, please visit www.redsox.com/irishfestival.
About Fenway Sports Management (FSM)
A wholly owned subsidiary of Fenway Sports Group, Fenway Sports Management (FSM) is a leading sports and entertainment marketing agency that advises elite properties, athletes, and brands.
FSM serves as the sponsorship sales arm for Fenway Sports Group’s prestigious sports portfolio: the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, New England Sports Network (NESN), Roush Fenway Racing and the Pawtucket Red Sox. FSM is also the exclusive marketing agency for LeBron James and Johnny Manziel through a strategic partnership with LRMR. Additionally, FSM provides consulting and event management services to blue chip consumer brands and sports properties. For more information, visit www.fenwaysportsmanagement.com.
About American International Group, Inc. (AIG)
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization serving customers in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at www.aig.com. All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all countries, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.
About the Gaelic Players Association (GPA)
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) is a not-for-profit organization supporting Ireland’s elite amateur county Gaelic footballers and hurlers. With over 2000 current playing members and expanding alumni, the GPA supports its athletes through the provision of a comprehensive Personal Development Program. The aim of the program – which covers personal development coaching, education and training, career coaching, leadership development and health and wellbeing – is to make a meaningful difference to the lives of our athletes outside the sports, encourage their long-term personal development and ensure that they realise their potential. The GPA is dedicated to players throughout their lives and guided by the principles of excellence, commitment, compassion, diversity and transparency. We strive to ensure that all our players achieve their personal best in all aspects of their lives.
About the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)
The Gaelic Athletic Association is Ireland’s largest and most influential sporting and cultural organisation. An amateur, volunteer-led association, it reaches into every area of the country through its network of 1450 clubs. It has overseen a 100% increase in its overseas footprint with more than 400 clubs dotted around the globe. Established in 1884 to address concerns over the dilution of traditional Irish games and pastimes, it caters for the games of hurling, Gaelic football, ladies football, camogie (ladies hurling), handball and rounders. The Association also promotes the Irish language and other aspects of Irish culture such as song, dance and music. It has provided Ireland with a vast sporting infrastructure and its headquarters, Croke Park, which has a capacity of 82,300, is viewed as its jewel in the crown and Ireland’s de facto national stadium. In recent times it has made concerted efforts to showcase its games to international audiences.
GAA Head of Media Relations
+353 (0) 1 8363222
GPA Head of Communications
+353 (86) 3971859