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Fans got 75pc of food and drink free at Aviva Stadium American football game

Northwestern Wildcats defensive back AJ Hampton Jr during the Aer Lingus College Football Classic 2022 match between Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Conor FeehanIndependent.ie

A bank card processing error led to 75pc of the food and drink allocation for the American football event in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening being given out for free.

The Aer Lingus College Football Classic event brought a lot of colour and cheer to the capital when the Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers came to town with around 15,000 fans travelling from the US.

Another 3,000 sports fans travelled from Europe, and the rest of the crowd were Irish-based sports fans.

But at around 5.30pm a problem developed with the payments system being used by the events catering company, and the organisers kept supplying food and drink to customers at no cost while the problem was resolved, a process that took about two hours.

Queues at the Aviva Stadium

Levy UK + Ireland, who were supplying food and drink services at the event, said the technical issue was not the fault of Aviva Stadium, but lay with the payment provider, a company they said was called Sumup.

“Due to technical issues caused by our payment provider, Sumup, we were unable to process card transactions for two hours at Aviva Stadium during the Northwestern Wildcats v Nebraska College football match,” a Levy UK + Ireland spokesperson said.

“Reports that this issue was because of Aviva Stadium technical issues are inaccurate, the issue was solely down to the external network system which the payment provider operates on to process transactions.

Aviva Stadium fans attending a College Football game queue for free pints after card machines went down due to WiFi issues.

"This was not a technical issue isolated to Aviva Stadium or indeed Ireland. Our team at Aviva Stadium were extremely quick to ensure that the fan experience was upheld and food and beverage kiosks were kept open serving customers for the entirety of this period.

“Payment systems resumed at 7.30pm and fans continued to enjoy the college football event. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this caused customers and would like to thank our employees at Aviva for the spirit they showed in keeping everything going,” they added.

The spokesperson said the decision to give out the food and drink without payment was a joint one by Levy UK + Ireland and Aviva Stadium management to preserve the customer experience as best they could.

“We were able to take payments for a period of time before kick-off and after half-time, when the issue was resolved, but we gave away approximately 75pc of the food and drink provisions we allocate for a game of this size,” they added.

Asked who was going to have to cover the bill for the food and drink that was given away, the spokesperson said they are already in contact with the payment provider to start the process of reclaiming these costs.

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