National Rugby League Side Penrith Panthers Threaten To Leave Sportingbet Stadium
National Rugby League side Penrith Panthers "have threatened to abandon their home ground of almost 50 years because of poor crowds and the NRL scheduling farce," according to Phil Rothfield of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The "most exciting young team in the premiership is averaging only 11,273 fans to Sportingbet Stadium this year" -- the second-lowest in the NRL. The Panthers have "not been scheduled even one Sunday afternoon game this year and have had to play on Monday nights four times, mostly in the rain." Penrith Panthers Group CEO Warren Wilson said that the club has "been forced into looking at alternative venues, possibly interstate, to increase revenue." South Sydney "successfully took games to Perth and Cairns this year" and made approximately A$750,000 ($698,300) more than from home games. Wilson said, "Unless the fans of Penrith get to the games and we start getting higher average crowds, the only way to balance the accounts is to take games to other venues. I would prefer to play every game at home but we can’t survive on an average crowd of 10 to 12,000. It just doesn't pay the bills" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/26).