Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher claims his club’s 11th straight sellout should put them at the front of the queue for one of NSW’s new boutique stadiums.
- Fletcher says it’s a “no-brainer” that Penrith are given a new stadium after consistently selling out tickets for the past year
- Penrith currently sits at the top of the NRL ladder and has not lost a match in 2021
- Brookvale, Kogarah, Belmore and a Liverpool venue are among the other grounds hoping for similar developments
The Panthers had long ago sold out tickets for Saturday’s clash with Manly in Bathurst, with just 5,000 allowed in due to COVID restrictions on the hill.
They have sold all tickets for every home game this year, including the first two where not all members turned up and dragged down attendances slightly.
All games back at Penrith were also sold out last year after the COVID-19 shutdown, and while capacities were reduced they were still the only Sydney side to meet their limits.
The game’s stadium policy is set to become a big issue again in coming months, given the state government’s June Budget could reveal details of their future plans.
And with the Panthers consistently selling out for the past year, Fletcher claims it is a no-brainer that Penrith are given a new suburban ground, which has been billed as a smaller version of Parramatta’s new stadium.
“If you’re going to build a stadium somewhere it’s got to be here,” Fletcher said.
“Every game has been sold out before the game. We could have a suburban ground with 25,000 people here rather than locking people out every week.
“This is the heartland of rugby league, we’re still growing. In our junior rugby league competition there are nearly 10,000 juniors in the group.
“It just makes sense.”
Brookvale, Kogarah, Belmore and a Liverpool venue are among the other grounds hoping for similar developments.
Regardless, the Panthers’ success is paying off for the club in the short-term, mitigating what loomed as a financial disaster during COVID-19.
Fletcher said the football club had still turned a profit last year and was on track to break even this year despite the significant limits on them.
“The football side can now stand on its own, which is a tremendous result,” Fletcher said.
“Back three years ago it used to average losing five to seven million a year.
“We’re a young side. We only average 24 years of age, I think that helps your advertisement.”