10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
"In the past six to twelve months, the business of rugby has changed rapidly and an investment in our facilities is absolutely vital if we are to cement our position and compete."
The entire redevelopment project for Ravenhill comprises four phases, the first two of which received approval from the Planning Authorites prior to Christmas and work is set to begin in November of this year on the first stage.
The new stand will be built into the back of the terrace, and it is expected that approximately two-thirds of the exisiting standing area will be retained.
The construction of a new stand would mark the first major upgrade of Ravenhill in many years.
As rugby has grown in popularity, so too have costs, specifically around the recruitment and retention of players, and the redevelopment programme is a vital step towards Ulster Rugby's financial future.
"First and foremost we need an investment in players which will bring results on the pitch, increased crowds and the financial windfalls and bonuses that come with participation in the latter stages of competition," added Reid.
"Secondly, we have to be able to offer more to our corporate customers and really capitalise on the growth of popularity of rugby."
The new stand, which has a six-month build time, will be operational for September 2009 and the project will be almost entirely financed through commercial income.
Boasting 20 corporate boxes and 530 premium seats, as well as an exclusive glass front bar/lounge facility offering an elevated view of the Ravenhill pitch, the new grandstand will provide opportunities for individuals and organisations to enjoy rugby at Ravenhill in more comfort than ever before.
The plans for the new stand were unveiled in a soft-launch to Ulster Rugby's current partners and sponsors at a Business Breakfast held in Belfast in March.
The plans have been well received to date with over half of the corporate boxes now booked and applications already received for the various levels of membership.
Projections expect that the new stand will be self-financing by it's third year of operation at which stage the next step in the ground redevelopment process, which is to build a new stand at the Memorial end of the ground, will have begun.
For more information on opportunities available within the new stand at Ravenhill, or for a copy of the brochure, please contact Lyndsey Irwin at Ulster Rugby on tel: 028 9049 3222.