THREE separate venues are locked in the struggle to become the major rival to the O2 in Dublin and Odyssey in Belfast.
More than 200 jobs hinge on which of the three proposed venues proceed to the construction phase in Cork, to offer the city a 7,000-capacity venue for concerts and conference events.
Three proposed venues have already secured planning permission -- Owen O'Callaghan's Albert Quay project, Howard Holdings' proposal for the docklands and a plan for the former Beamish & Crawford brewery site. The projects will cost between €50m and €70m.
The Irish Independent has learned that a state subvention via Cork City Council is likely to determine which of the venues is viable.
One source said that, without the annual subvention, operating venues of such a scale in Cork would be a marginal undertaking.