Ulster Rugby’s redevelopment of Ravenhill has been given the green light by Northern Ireland Environment Minister Alex Attwood. it means the rebuilding of three stands to complement the one opened three yeas ago and will see the capacity of the stadium rise to 18,000.
This puts it on a par with the RDS and would enable it to be considered as a host venue if a planned bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 comes to fruition.
Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has officially released the £14.7million (€18.3 million) pledged for Ulster Rugby’s plan.
“We have now reached a milestone in the upgrade of Ravenhill.” she said. “This progress will enable rugby to move to the next stage of their ambition to have a stadium that will fully meet their needs well into the future.”
After a great start to the season games at the stadium are frequently selling out in its current 11,400 capacity. The first stage in the development will be the building of new stands at either end. Then the main Grandstand will be torn down and rebuilt with a planned completion of Summer 2014.
Ulster Rugby is seeking a naming partner for what will be one of the most modern rugby stadiums in Europe. It has worked closely with the businesses that either sponsor, have hospitality facilities or are commercially involved
“This investment will create a modern, state-of-the-art stadium with the highest standard of facilities for both supporters and players,” said Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan. “The new Ravenhill will enhance the position of Ulster Rugby in the world game and will greatly benefit the development of rugby in the Province.”
“Along with the planned works due to take place for Gaelic games at Casement Park and soccer at Windsor Park, this is good news for not only sports in the city but all the businesses that will benefit from the work being done,” added local MLA Alex Maskey.