THE Newcastle Knights will have no involvement in The Hunter race day at Broadmeadow next weekend, despite an advertising campaign promoting the NRL club as the landmark event's major sponsors.
Billboards and electronic media have referred to Saturday week's "Knights' Hunter" meeting, the highlight of which will be the $1 million 1300-metre sprint - the richest race ever staged at a provincial club in NSW.
But Knights chief executive Phil Gardner said that despite being close to reaching an agreement with Racing NSW, negotiations had broken down because of time constraints.
He said Racing NSW had "jumped the gun" by producing advertising signage before a deal had been signed.
"We were excited about the opportunity," Gardner told the Newcastle Herald.
"A $1 million race in Newcastle is a good thing for the town, and we were interested in being involved.
"We felt a golf day at the beginning of the year and a race day at the end of the year was a good way to extend the [football] season, and look after our sponsors and corporate box-holders.
"We'd been looking for the right day, and when this one came up, we thought it was a great opportunity for us.
"We were in negotiations but just ran out of time, because we were trying to pull it all off in a very compressed time frame. In the end, we just couldn't get the deal across the line."
Gardner said sticking points had been how many corporate tickets the Knights would receive, and the possibility of discounted race-day entry for Knights members.
"That debate goes on in any deal," he said. "Someone always wants more, and someone always offers less.
"That's part and parcel of negotiations. With enough time, I think we could have got there."
He added there had been the "best of intentions on both sides, and we'd be happy to talk to them about next year."