Catering Firm Defends Free Beer at Dublin Stadium

Freebies flowed for two hours due to technical problems with a payment provider.

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, May 2019.
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, May 2019.

DUBLIN (AP) — In the postgame analysis, free beer at the Nebraska-Northwestern game in Ireland was the right call.

The freebies flowed for two hours during Northwestern’s 31-28 victory on Saturday, and the catering company for Aviva Stadium hailed its workers for keeping the refreshments coming.

Levy UK + Ireland said Sunday the problem was with its payment provider, and not with the stadium’s internet connection.

"Due to technical issues caused by our payment provider, SumUp, we were unable to process card transactions for two hours at Aviva Stadium,” the company said in a statement.

It said the problem "was solely down to the external network system which the payment provider operates on to process transactions. This was not a technical issue isolated to Aviva Stadium or indeed Ireland.” The stadium went cashless in 2021.

Levy, a sports and hospitality caterer whose other clients include English Premier League soccer clubs, did not give an estimate of lost revenue.

“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," it said. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this caused customers and would like to thank our employees at Aviva Stadium for the spirit they showed in keeping everything going.”

SumUp posted on its Twitter account minutes before kickoff that it was “experiencing issues with logins, payments, and other services.” Two hours later, it posted that the problem was resolved. It apologized to clients “for any disruption to your day.”

Ronan McGowan got “three or four” plastic cups of Guinness “but it took 40 minutes, I missed the game. It wasn’t good. In fairness, most people didn’t have cash. They did the right thing, under the circumstances.”

McGowan said people were also “ordering a lot of drinks,” which slowed everything.

Nebraska fan Elena Kuiper was already in line when she realized the beer was free. Afterward, she said “news traveled fast.” Her husband, Scott, said a man sitting next to him moved quickly.

“He took off right away and went up there to go get one,” he said Sunday at Dublin Airport.

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