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Parramatta Eels refuse ‘unacceptable’ deal for tenancy at new Western Sydney Stadium

Parramatta Eels refuse ‘unacceptable’ deal for tenancy at new Western Sydney Stadium
October 16, 2018

The Parramatta Eels have dealt a blow to the NSW Government’s redevelopment of the new Western Sydney Stadium by rejecting what it calls an “unacceptable” commercial deal to play at the venue.

Just a week before the NRL is due to release its 2019 season draw, Eels Chief Executive Bernie Gurr revealed in a letter to Club members that he has refused to sign the commercial deal being offered by VenuesLive, the operator of the Stadium.

With VenuesLive and the Eels having been negotiating the deal for six months, Gurr advised that when the proposal was compared with other offers being received by the NRL and other sports, it would adversely affect the club.

In the letter to fans, Gurr advised “as it stands today, the club 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.

“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.”

Along with the A-League’s Western Sydney Wanderers, the Eels were expected to be one of the two main tenants of the new 30,000-seat stadium when it opens in April next year.

Gurr also advised that its current temporary arrangements at the VenuesLive-managed ANZ Stadium had “adversely impacted the club financially and we are not prepared to accept a new agreement that will continue to impact the club negatively for the next 25 years.”

In particular, Gurr said the club will “not compromise” on key areas that are important to members and supporters such as affordable food and beverage pricing and options; the venue’s public transport plan and “reasonable event costs” to ensure affordable pricing for members and casual ticket holders.

Gurr also said the Eels are seeking expanded opportunities for corporate partners to help drive revenue for the club and better technology to enhance the game day experience.

He added “in the interests of arriving at a fair and reasonable deal, we are continuing our discussions with the stadium operator in an attempt to resolve this matter quickly so that our members and supporters have a clear understanding of the (Western Sydney Stadium) schedule for 2019.”

With the new venue also set to four Wests Tigers games in 2019, the NRL will now be forced to mark the draw with ‘TBC’ for all of the Eels’ home game venues.

Commenting on the issues, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet advised that negotiations would continue talks, telling the ABC “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.

“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.”

Images: Construction of the new Western Sydney Stadium in August (top) and how the venue will look when complete (below).

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31st August 2018 - NSW Government looks to secure naming rights for new Western Sydney Stadium

26th August 2018 - 2019 opening on track for new Western Sydney Stadium

6th August 2018 - NSW Government accused of inflating potential fixture numbers to back venues plan

23rd July 2018 - NSW Government looks to increase hosting of major sporting events

12th June 2018 - Redevelopment of Allianz and ANZ Stadiums to deliver ‘negative returns’ on investment

2nd May 2018 - ANZ Stadium operator VenuesLive to manage new Western Sydney Stadium

29th April 2018 - Venues NSW Chair issued warning over viability of Sydney stadium redevelopments

12th December 2017 - Stadium economics: Spending billions on empty seats

13th July 2017 - Former Parramatta Eels Chief Executive gets good behaviour bond in NRL salary cap scandal

6th June 2017 - Fremantle and West Coast Eagles agree Perth Stadium deal

15th March 2017 - Western Sydney Stadium will allow fans to make F&B purchases without missing the game

6th February 2017 - Former Parramatta Eels manager Jason Irvine charged with fraud offences

19th July 2016 - NSW Government Sacks Parramatta Eels Board

31st March 2016 - Western Sydney Wanderers to make three season move to Sydney Olympic Park

13th June 2014 - Adelaide Oval revenue deal to be re-visited

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