Wendt tackles TV home games deal
IPSWICH Jets will not have a Sunday televised Channel Nine home game in 2014 and frustrated chief executive Wayne Wendt has taken his concerns to the Queensland Rugby League (QRL) board.
Apart from PNG Hunters, the Jets are the only Intrust Super Cup side not to have been allocated a home game on TV in 2014.
Wendt wrote a letter to QRL director Darryl van de Veldt when he said "the Jets consider that the current process for the allocation of home-ground free-to-air Channel Nine TV games is flawed and lacks transparency".
But QRL general manager of competitions Jamie O'Connor said he had given the Jets every opportunity to host a TV game but that Wendt had refused to move matches from Saturday to a Sunday to accommodate the offer.
O'Connor said the Jets had recently been offered home TV games against Souths (round 19) and the round-26 clash with Redcliffe on August 30, but Wendt told the QT he was unable to move those from a Saturday to Sunday.
"One was against Souths, our indigenous appreciation day, which is always held in NAIDOC Week," Wendt said. "We had organised that for some time and we had special jerseys designed that said on them the game was on Saturday.
"Everybody knows that the Jets' last home game is always Old Boys day and played on a Saturday, so the old Jets from around Australia can fly in on Friday night, stay the weekend and fly out Sunday."
The IRL semi-finals have also been booked for North Ipswich Reserve on August 31, the same day the QRL proposed the Sunday clash with Redcliffe. In his letter to van de Veldt, the Jets CEO said his club and the QRL had been "painted into a corner".
"The QRL process of awarding the first 16 rounds of the competition without the Jets receiving a home TV game has directly resulted in the Jets and the QRL being 'painted into a corner' over the remaining matches," Wendt said.
He has also written to O'Connor, highlighting the questions sponsors, local media and politicians had been asking about the lack of home TV games.
"As part of our contract with sponsors, we usually guarantee one home game on television," Wendt told the QT.
"When it is our home game, we get the opportunity to put four or five grass (sponsor) signs painted on the grass and we can sell those for over $1000 each.
"There is our fence signage where (sponsors) think they are getting a television opportunity when their fence sign will be in the TV arc."
Clubs choose what days they play. Wendt concedes he elected to play all but one home game in the first 16 rounds on Saturday because that is when the club gets its best crowds, but said he would have been open to moving them if approached to shift them to Sunday by the QRL.
"We do prefer to play on a Saturday, but if they gave me an opportunity to play two games on a Sunday, I would do that," he said.
O'Connor insisted the QRL had made that offer.
"The first correspondence between us and the Jets was in March. Wayne had from then until round 26 this year to change games from a Saturday to a Sunday and he was unwilling to do it," he said.
"The disappointing part is that these discussions between ourselves and the club have been ongoing over the last couple of months.
"We came to them with multiple opportunities and we felt we gave Wayne an enormous amount of times and notice to alter his plans around some of the subsequent days he had planned for Saturday games. But he was unwilling to move his games."
Wendt said he "lobbied very hard" for the Ipswich v PNG round-six game to be played at North Ipswich Reserve on TV and was knocked back.
O'Connor said there was a reason for that.
"We released rounds one to six at the start of the year and at that point we were unsure whether PNG were going to be competitive or not," he said
"We'd allocated PNG to TV against Redcliffe in round one and we were unwilling to put them on TV for more than one game at that time because we were unsure how they were going to perform."
Wendt said his concerns would be raised at the QRL board meeting this week.