Monday 24 October 2016

Revamp of RDS could net Dublin economy €65m

A computer image of the how the news RDS stand will look
A computer image of the how the news RDS stand will look

The redevelopment of the RDS event arena could be worth more than €65m for Dublin, according to documents seen by the Herald.

The Royal Dublin Society submitted a planning application to Dublin City Council for a €26m redevelopment of its Anglesea Stand.

The plan is to turn its main event arena into a "mid-sized multi-purpose regional sporting venue" aimed at catering for events below that of the Aviva Stadium (65,000) and Croke Park (80,000) but above other locations such as Donnybrook Stadium which hosts rugby matches (9,000).

If planning permission is approved, the RDS will increase its capacity from 18,500 to about 25,000.


In its proposal, the organisation lists increased attendance at Leinster Rugby's Pro12 and European home matches, along with the Dublin Horse Show and outdoor concerts, as having "significantly potential" to bring in extra millions of euro into the local Dublin economy.

It estimates that the overall "positive economic impact" for Leinster Rugby could be worth up to €5.5m a match - almost €66m annually.

The detail of the projected earnings for Dublin businesses were included in the planning application documents submitted by the RDS.

The figures are based off a study carried out in Limerick based on the impact of Munster Rugby's Heineken Cup clash in the city.

In its planning application, the RDS notes “given the similarities in profile, adjusted for the lower capacity for the RDS of course, it is reasonable to assess the impact Leinster Rugby has on the local economy of Dublin”.

It continues, stating the organisation’s confident that the Anglesea Stand redevelopment will “significantly increase” this positive impact further.

Listing its other two principal functions, the organisation further expands on their rationale for the significant upgrade.

The documents state that the Horse Show brought in an estimated €43m in indirect spending to the Irish economy, while concert events could be worth between €18m to €20m.

It is expected that construction will begin immediately after the 2017 Horse Show, with the aim of completion within 12 to 15 months.

There are also plans for a club shop and hospitality services including players', officials' and media facilities as part of the revamp.

Meanwhile, health insurance firm Laya Healthcare have recently secured the naming rights for the revamped arena in a deal estimated to be worth €8m over the next 10 years.

The RDS declined to comment when asked if this would be used to fund the revamp.

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