Work is progressing behind the scenes on a new stadium for Connacht Rugby in Galway, with preliminary designs likely to emerge next year.
Extensive surveys have been carried out among fans and businesses on their requirements for a new stadium – with a capacity of 10,000 to 15,000.
Connacht Rugby Public Relations Manager Brendan Loughnane told the Galway City Tribune that a project team is being established at the moment, which will look at the composition of the new stadium – including how it would look and the potential sites.
He would not be drawn on the potential sites as the club is still “engaging with all stakeholders”, but among the three options are an extensive redevelopment of the Sportsground or a greenfield site at the Docks.
“In terms of sites, we’re not in a position to make an announcement. Yes, the Sportsground is still in the running, outside of that, we’re engaging with all stakeholders.
“There is a lot to look at; would it be all covered, all seated or some terraced? From our point of view, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
“We’ve gathered all the data [through surveys] from the fans and now businesses. We commissioned Deloitte to carry out the design survey – we got really good engagement from the fans and that goes beyond the season ticket holders.”
He said Connacht Rugby was engaging with businesses to gauge what needs would be in terms of corporate facilitates and also alternative uses for the stadium.
Mr Loughnane refused to comment on funding for the project, but a source within Connacht Rugby said they are confident they will be able to source the monies required.
Fans taking part in the survey were told: “The study will aim to determine the optimum capacity, seating mix, premium facilities, technology and alternative use opportunities of a stadium in the future.
“The study will involve a market analysis of core usage and corporate demand, non-match day potential through market research and consultations with the fans, the public and the business community.”