Ulster Rugby

Short history

Kingspan Stadium is the home ground of Ulster Rugby. The stadium was opened in 1923 under the name Ravenhill Stadium and was renovated in 2009 and 2013-2014. In this period, a deal with the Kingspan Group was signed, and therefore the stadium adopted the name Kingspan Stadium.

With the opening of a new stand for the 2014 Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens on the 5th of April, the capacity is now 18,000. The Kingspan Stadium is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union. 

The Kingspan Stadium houses the administration centre for the game of rugby football in the province of Ulster. 

While the stadium has been maintained over the years, 2008 saw the first major modernisation of the stadium when foundations were laid for a new high-spec corporate stand on the terrace side of the ground - Phase 1 of a re-development programme. Built at a cost of £5.5million the stand opened for business in September 2009, boasting 20 high-spec corporate boxes, 532 premier seats and a full bar and restaurant facilities.

In 2010 Ulster Rugby submitted a business case to government, requesting funding from the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure to modernise the rest of the stadium by building new stands at the Aquinas and car park ends of the ground and to replace the existing grandstand. In 2011, Minister Nelson McCausland confirmed that the request would be granted and £14.7 million of funding was secured in November 2012. 

Construction work started immediately and was completed in the summer of 2014. Three new stands were built at the ground in a phased approach that rose the capacity from 11,400 to 18,000. 

The first phase of the redevelopment ran from November 2012 until June 2013 and saw new stands being built at both the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the ground. 

The new Memorial End stand provides covered seating for approximately 2,400 people with terracing for a further 1,350 fans. It houses a ticket office, a shop, a bar/catering facilities and a new educational facility. The educational facility promotes the benefits of nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and the values of sport. 

The new Aquinas stand is the new family area of the ground. It provides covered seating for 2,100 people with terracing for a further 1,300 fans. It houses new team changing facilities, treatment rooms, an indoor training surface as well as match day media facilities. It also became the Ulster Rugby Senior squad's new training base with a state-of-the-art gym, meeting rooms and facilities. 

Once the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the ground were complete, the second phase of construction began. This ran from July 2013 until August 2014 and saw the demolition of the existing main stand and the construction of a replacement grandstand built to accommodate 3,450 seated spectators with the new promenade providing standing for approximately 3,400 fans. This stand has a bar and restaurant facilities. The existing promenade were also upgraded. 

With the increased number of spectators that the new-look ground holds, the Kingspan Stadium is capable of hosting a RaboDirect PRO12 Final or a Heineken Cup Quarter Final.


 

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