Newcastle's loss will be the mid-North Coast's gain after Jets management announced free entry to Sunday's A-League match against Melbourne Heart at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium.
The Jets have been forced to relocate the match after the motocross fiasco that has rendered the turf at EnergyAustralia Stadium unusable and in need of replacement.
Sunday was to have been the club's first "community day" under new owner Nathan Tinkler, at which the distribution of 10,000 free tickets would have guaranteed a bumper crowd at EAS.
Instead, Jets officials have decided to extend the same generosity to Port Macquarie residents by opening the gates and opting not to charge for admission.
The promotion will cost the club an estimated $100,000 in lost gate-takings.
"We've always said we're about Newcastle, the Hunter and Northern NSW," Jets executive chairman Ken Edwards said yesterday.
"So this is a way that we can demonstrate that we mean what we say about connecting with our community. We're trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation."
The Jets are also providing free bus travel for season-ticket holders, the first 1000 of whom to register can secure reserved seats in the grandstand.
Edwards said Football Federation Australia had given Newcastle the option of transferring the game to stadiums in Sydney or Melbourne but, after consulting Tinkler, it was decided to become the first club to stage an A-League match outside one of the major cities.
"Nathan made it clear, once we had established how much it would cost, that he was fully supportive of the approach we've taken," Edwards said.
"He's aware of all the important things happening at the club at all times."
The Jets have played five pre-season fixtures at the Regional Stadium, which can accommodate 8000 spectators, and regard the mid-North Coast as their catchment area. They see Sunday's game as a chance to spread their brand.
Both teams will travel from Newcastle by bus on the morning of the game because accommodation in Port Macquarie has been largely booked out by competitors in a triathlon. Edwards was hopeful he would finalise arrangements with a turf company today, who would start re-surfacing the pitch at EAS by Monday or Tuesday.
"Everything has been verbally agreed and signed off, it's just a matter of getting the contracts in place," Edwards said.
He said there was "zero risk" that the turf would not be playable when David Beckham's LA Galaxy arrive for their much-anticipated exhibition match on November 27.