Parramatta Eels have sealed a deal with the NSW State Government to move into Western Sydney Stadium after threatening to walk away over a massive hike in rental costs.
The Eels were furious when they found out they would be charged a reported $210,000 a week to use the newly-built $300m venue next year, compared to the $70,000 a week they used to pay for the old Parramatta Stadium.
As the main users of the stadium along with A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers, the Eels' refusal to play there put the stadium's viability in jeopardy.
But today the Eels said they had reached an agreement in principle to play there after the state government backed down on their demands.
The club is now confident they can reach a final deal and plan to play their first match in a showpiece Easter Monday Round 6 match against West Tigers on April 22.
The Wanderers have yet to finalise a deal with the state government on their use of the stadium, but the club say they are "on a different timeline" from the Eels and may not host a game at the venue this season.
Parramatta Eels CEO Bernie Gurr added: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this stage and announce Western Sydney Stadium as our new home.
"We believe that Western Sydney Stadium will provide our members and commercial partners with an outstanding game day experience and will also contribute to the club’s financial stability."
VenuesLive CEO Daryl Kerry said Western Sydney Stadium will turn blue and gold to welcome the Parramatta Eels when the stadium opens for business next year.
“There were certainly some robust discussions but we collectively achieved a lot in a small amount of time as both parties were committed to getting a deal done,” Kerry said.
“Parramatta Eels are one of the great Sydney sporting clubs and their members and supporters are going to be part of a very special experience at Western Sydney Stadium in 2019.”
NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres added: “Eels fans should be counting down the days to the opening of Western Sydney Stadium which will revolutionise the visitor experience by bringing fans closer to the action than any other sporting precinct in Australia.
“The Eels are one of the great sporting clubs with one of the biggest supporter bases in the NRL and they will be the first to experience game day at the brand new 30,000-seat stadium which will be the best in the country when it opens.
“VenuesLive has now negotiated agreements with sporting teams including the Eels, the Wests Tigers and the NSW Waratahs, as well as securing a blockbuster line up of exciting events for the new Western Sydney Stadium.”