Australian Rugby League club Parramatta Eels have rejected a proposed deal to play their home games at the new Western Sydney Stadium (WSS).
The club said it has been offered commercial terms by the stadium operator that are not acceptable to the Board of the Parramatta Eels Club or the Parramatta Leagues Club.
When the NRL draw is released in the near future, the venue for the club’s home games in 2019 will be marked as “TBC” (to be confirmed).
Bernie Gurr, CEO of the Parramatta Eels, said in a letter to fans:
Over the past six months the Board and Management of the Club have been involved in detailed negotiations regarding a commercial agreement for our Parramatta Eels Club at the WSS.
Our view that the current proposal is unacceptable has been confirmed after an extensive six-month due diligence process conducted by myself and other members of the management team.
The due diligence process has included the engagement of a reputable consulting firm. Together we have benchmarked the commercial terms of the current offer against offerings currently being received by NRL and other sports at a range of stadiums across multiple states of Australia.
The current proposal if accepted would adversely affect the ability of our Club to invest in our Football Department including our NRL team and our junior elite football programs.
He said the current agreement at ANZ has adversely impacted the Club financially and that they are not prepared to accept a new agreement that will continue to impact the Club negatively for the next 25 years.
The club said it will also not compromise on key areas that are important to members and supporters such as:
- Affordable food and beverage pricing and options
- A clear public transport plan for WSS to enable Members to attend games smoothly.
- Reasonable event costs to ensure affordable pricing for Members and casual ticket holders.
- Expanded opportunities for our Corporate partners to help drive revenue for the Club.
- Better technology to enhance Game Day experience.
In the interests of arriving at a fair and reasonable deal, Gurr said the club was continuing discussions with the stadium operator in an attempt to resolve this matter quickly so that members and supporters have a clear understanding of the WSS schedule for 2019.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he was confident a deal could be struck:
I’m very confident we will reach a compromise because why would you not want to play at one of the great stadiums that this country is going to have,” he said.
Western Sydney Stadium is going to be the envy of the west [and] is a world-class facility that will have world-class games played there, and I believe Parramatta will be a part of that story. It’s going to be a great stadium. The Wests Tigers are going to be playing there.