County chairman Ger Lane said: “Starting out, when people heard the figure of €60 or €70m being mentioned, they were probably a bit nervous, but it was the same when the redevelopment of Croke Park was suggested, people said at that time it’d never be paid off.
“At the same time, though, we have €30m from the Government, €20m from GAA central funds, €10m of our own funds and a recent grant of €3.75m from the Munster Council. We’re hugely appreciative of those funds.
“That means we have the bones of €64m accounted for and I think with any project costing €70m, if you have €64m in place, then that’s a good start.”
Lane added that naming rights is “an option” that will be addressed when the business plan for the new stadium is launched.
“It’s an option. It’ll be part of our business plan, which we’ll launch in April or May.
“While we might feel people will refer to it as Páirc Uí Chaoimh, that will all form part of the business plan.
“We haven’t finalised that as yet but we’d see that as a potential source of revenue, certainly, when you look around the country at the likes of Kingspan Breffni Park and the Morgan Athletic Grounds and so on.”
Cutting-edge connectivity is also “part of the plan”, said Lane. “Even in Croke Park, I know they’re considering innovations such as having screens on seats, and so on.
“We haven’t gotten into that much detail yet but anything that’s provided in Croke Park, we’d see ourselves providing here, because the stadium in Cork will be along the Croke Park model. We’ll be expecting the same quality, the same comforts. Certainly people going to Croke Park see it as a match-day experience, so we’ll be bearing that in mind. There’ll be premium level seats available for those who wish to purchase them, and those will have the same level of comfort as Croke Park.”
Lane also revealed that stadium officials at the Aviva, Thomond Park and Croke Park were very cooperative when approached by county board representatives seeking advice.
“They were all very helpful to us, in fairness, we have the same architects as worked on the Aviva, we have good advice and any pitfalls they might have encountered, we’d be hoping to avoid. They were all very open, helpful. Down the line, we’d be happy to help anyone developing a stadium of their own — generally you’re talking about the same patrons going to these games anyway.”
Lane admits there has been a massive groundswell of support since the project got the green light.
“I think every business in the vicinity is looking forward to the project getting started, there’s obviously going to be a spin-off for hotels, bars, restaurants and I haven’t heard too much negative comment once issues with the residents were sorted out and the planning permission was granted.
“Clearly it’s a major project, and the buck stops with the executive and ultimately, I suppose, with the chairman. But I’d be very happy with the steering committee we have in place, that we can deliver.”
With Páirc Uí Chaoimh out of commission, Cork will play games at Páirc Uí Rinn.
“We’d always have a look at refurbishments to Páirc Uí Rinn around this time of the year — it’s a county ground and has to be at a certain standard. Obviously with all the games there, that’s more important now than ever, but the playing surface is good there year round, which is a big plus.
“One thing we’re keen to get across is we want to get people into the habit of picking up tickets before the game because stiles are going to be cash-less. On the day of a game you can go along and buy one at a booth, but if you buy a ticket up to the day of the game, you’ll get a fiver off. That means for a league game, which is €15, you’d get in for €10. A 33% saving is good, so if you go to SuperValu or Centra the week of a league game you’ll save a few bob. That’s probably the way it’ll go as we progress to the new stadium.”
Lane added that the county board staff are preparing for their new offices in the Mainport building on the Monaghan Road.
“The only meetings we’d be holding there would be executive meetings, maybe CCC meetings. Disciplinary hearings will probably be in Páirc Uí Rinn and the board meetings will be in Nemo Rangers, which ticked all the boxes in terms of access, parking and so on.”