Browne was speaking at a media briefing held in Dublin earlier today at which the IRFU and the FAI also updated media on the comprehensive commercial programme that has been developed by both organisations to help fund this â0¬365 million project. The Irish government is investing â0¬191 million in the project with the rest of the funding being provided by the IRFU and the FAI.
At the briefing Browne also announced the appointment of the US specialist company Wasserman Media Group (WMG) who have been appointed to evaluate and ultimately market the naming rights for the new stadium. WMG were responsible for the deal between Arsenal FC and Emirates Airlines which combined stadium naming rights with a shirt deal.
WMG is currently working with their Irish partners, Slattery Communications, to evaluate the naming rights. Browne confirmed that WMG/Slatterys hoped to begin marketing the naming rights within the next month.
Stadium Director Appointed
Browne also confirmed the appointment of Martin Murphy as Stadium Director. He said that Murphy takes up the position following 12 years with the IRFU where most recently he held the position of Director of Corporate Affairs.
Murphy will take up his new position at the end of October.
Demolition / Construction Programme
The briefing began with Colm Moran of PM Group, the project manager for the stadium development, noting that all of the demolition works have now been completed. He said that all of the concrete from the old stadium had now been crushed with most of it being used on site for temporary hard standing and road areas.
He said that work was well underway on putting in the piling to support the new stadium. Excavation work has also been carried out in relation to the basement of the new East Stand and the proposed car park which will run under the new back pitch.
He said that LRSDC were currently evaluating final tenders in relation to the appointment of a main contractor for the stadium. He said that an announcement would be made in relation to the appointment shortly.
He confirmed that work was on schedule to finish before the end of 2009 with first matches being played in the stadium early in 2010.
Philip Browne, who is also chief executive of the IRFU, and John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI, updated the media on the commercial programmes both organisations are carrying out separately in relation to the stadium. Both confirmed that there had been huge interest in the provision both of corporate seats and corporate boxes, both most important in the financing of the new stadium.
There are 10,000 premium seats in the new stadium and 35 corporate boxes.
Browne said that the IRFU scheme for the sale of 10-year corporate tickets had been heavily over subscribed. He confirmed that the IRFU programme to sell corporate boxes would commence shortly.
Delaney noted that the FAI would be launching their corporate / premium seat sales campaign early next year. He noted that the FAI had engaged Comperio Research, the global market leader in developing Premium Seat and Corporate Box packages, to conduct extensive market research on its behalf. The aim of the research is to ensure that the FAI packages meet the needs of both its corporate and non-corporate customers and to ensure that it optimises the revenue potential from the sale of premium seats and boxes.
The initial findings of the research shows that there is a very strong demand for premium seat and corporate boxes for football. The FAI expect to announce the findings of the research in late October and to begin marketing them at the beginning of 2008.
For more information on the new Lansdowne Road stadium, please go to www.lrsdc.ie