Eels Slip Out of Commitment to New Western Sydney Stadium

The Parramatta Eels could always pull the 1984 stunt the Baltimore Colts pulled on the city and the NFL when they packed up in the dead of night and landed in Indianapolis.

The Colts ownership was lured by greener pastures and a new facility.

Maybe Parramatta could find a new home in South or Western Australia.

The Adelaide Eels rolls off the tongue nicely. Perth, not so much, but Fremantle would suffice.

We are not suggesting that the Eels are going to bolt Western Sydney, but they might well be angling for a better situation than the one offered by the brand new, $300 million Western Sydney Stadium.

Eels’ Chief Executive Bernie Gurr has rejected the offer by the stadium operator, VenuesLive, for the Eels to play home games at the new facility, labeling the offer from VenuesLive, “unacceptable.”

With the fixture for the 2019 Telstra NRL Premiership competition to be announced in short order, the question of where the Eels will call home probably presents some major headaches to the schedulers.

“TBA” does not look good.

Gurr told a reporter for Fox News, “The reality is that the position of our club and the position of VenuesLive are quite a way apart. The sticking points are the financial outcomes of the Stadium. Historically NRL clubs have had very poor Stadium deals and we have not generated sufficient amounts of revenue out of those Stadiums to help fund our NRL football team, our junior elite programs and our community initiatives.”

It’s the old money thing again, eh?

Parramatta attracted a bit under 180,000 spectators to ANZ Stadium in 2018, an average of about 14,000 per home fixture. ANZ can hold almost 84,000. The new Western Sydney Stadium has seating for 30,000.

Plenty of good seats still available for Parramatta home games. Not the ideal marketing slogan, it would appear.

It is tough to negotiate a good bargain with a stadium operator contemplating, at best, a crowd of 50 percent of capacity.

Perhaps VenuesLive could offer the park to the organisers of next year’s The Everest, provided no one objects.