BATHURST Regional Council has refused to reveal if the prospect of a cap on the crowd at this year's Carrington Park NRL clash will be offset by a drop in the price to host the event, or whether ratepayers will be left out of pocket.
Tickets for this year's clash between the Penrith Panthers and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on Saturday, May 1 go on sale to the public at 10am on Friday and while all 1000 seats in the grandstand will be made available, mayor Bobby Bourke said the number of fans allowed on the Carrington Park hill would be limited to comply with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
Council has never revealed what it pays for the right to host the annual clash at Carrington Park, though speculation has put the figure at around $300,000 a year.
At that price, council needs a crowd of about 10,000 people at the ground to break even, though council has always maintained the benefits to the Bathurst region flow well beyond the revenue from ticket sales.
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Limiting the number of fans allowed on the hill means there is no chance of reaching that 10,000 mark, but it appears there will be no corresponding drop in the price ratepayers pay to bring the game here.
"The figure [council pays] is commercial in confidence, however, the deal with Penrith Panthers brings many economic benefits to our city through exposure on television coverage and the many league fans that travel to our city for the match," Cr Bourke said.
"It plays a key part in showcasing the capabilities of our region hosting major events.
"Numbers [of fans] will be limited. Current restrictions allow for 100 per cent capacity for seated stadiums, so the grandstand will have 1000 seats available to sell.
"For those wanting a general admission ticket to sit on the hill, numbers will be reduced due to social distancing measures. Those who don't want to miss the action should buy a ticket when they come on sale."
Cr Bourke said council had been in regular talks with health officials as part of the planning for this year's NRL clash after last year's planned clash between the Panthers and Cronulla Sharks was abandoned due to COVID.
"Council has been following the NSW Health guidelines on stadiums," he said.
"Council is also working closely with Penrith Panthers."
Pre-sale tickets will be available from 10am this Friday, March 19. Council will offer three tiers of pricing to encourage early ticket sales.
Tickets are available via Ticketek and through BathurstNRL.com.au.
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