WEST COAST and Fremantle can finally start pitching membership packages to their members after a user agreement was reached for the new $1.5billion Perth Stadium.
Various media outlets reported on Friday that the tense negotiation process had ended, with the West Australian government to pay the WA Football Commission more than $10 million a year for the next 10 years as part of the deal to leave Domain Stadium for the state-of-the-art 60,000-seat venue.
WA Football Commission chairman Murray McHenry rejected claims the League threatened to remain at Domain Stadium in Subiaco into next year after the state government rejected its demand to have other sporting codes subsidise any shortfall in income it may suffer by moving to the new facility.
"Who made the threat? It was only ever written in the paper - it was never said by the board at any stage," McHenry said on Sunday.
AFL chairman Richard Goyder backed him up.
"Mark and I looked at each other and we just said 'there's no way that we're not playing football at this stadium in 2018. Now let's sort this out'," Goyder said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the talks had been stressful.
"It was a difficult process and a very involved process," McGowan said.
Under the deal, $10.3 million of income generated by football at the stadium will be provided to the WA Football Commission each year for an initial 10-year period, which McGowan says will ensure grassroots football continues to prosper.
As part of a second deal between the WA government, stadium operator VenuesLive, the AFL, West Coast and Fremantle, 50,000 seats will be available for members of the teams for their AFL premiership season home games.
At least 6000 tickets will be available to non-AFL club members for every one of those matches.
Only 1385 Perth Stadium memberships will be on offer for fans who want to see every event at the new facility.
West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said talks had been "intricate and exhaustive" and that the club had never lost sight of the fan experience.
"We know our members and supporters want to view our games at the best possible venue and our negotiations were completed with members and fans at the front of our thought processes at all times," Nisbett told the club website.
"This will be the best stadium in the southern hemisphere and we're committed to making it the best possible experience for all of our stakeholders.
"Now we begin the hard work of transitioning more than 40,000 members from Domain Stadium to the new Perth Stadium.
"Our members have been extremely patient through this process and I would urge them to remain patient while were work to achieve the best possible outcomes for everyone.
"We have done as much preliminary work as we could to minimise any foreseeable delays in the migration, so we hope those foundations make the change as seamless as possible."
There were no hints as to which teams will be the first to compete there and kicking the season off with a western derby was ruled out.
But McGowan said he'd like to see the Fremantle Dockers play Collingwood.
More night games look likely, given the stadium has stellar lighting, but not before the footbridge across the river is complete in July.
The premier was tight-lipped about which companies were competing for the naming rights amid rumours Optus could be the successful bidder.
The stadium will officially open with a free Community Open Day on January 21 and will be followed by entertainment and sporting events ahead of the AFL premiership season.
Chairman of the board Russell Gibbs signs the Perth Stadium user agreement! pic.twitter.com/LmsqWkkRyC— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) October 22, 2017
Done deal. Footy at world class Perth stadium. AFL supporters will enjoy our great game at this magnificent venue. pic.twitter.com/y9iNcSqakD— Richard Goyder (@RGoyder) October 22, 2017