THE Newcastle Jets will host the first double-header in the history of the A-League as one of a series of initiatives executive chairman Shane Mattiske hopes will generate interest in the club.
The Jets will take on Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix will battle the Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 21.
The Phoenix-Roar clash kicks off at 4.05pm, with the second game at 6.40pm.
The National Rugby League holds a Magic Round, where all games are played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The National Basketball League also programs double-headers but it has never been done in the A-League.
"It's an example of the club thinking differently and looking to innovate," Mattiske said. "It is a great way to deliver value back to our members, who will be able to access both games.
"When we sat down with Venues NSW to talk about ways we could work together positively, this was one of the ideas which came up. With the support of the Phoenix - it would have been a home game for them - we have been able to create something a little different.
"From the ownership group and the staff inside the business, we are thinking about how we can do things differently to create something of interest for the community and engage the broader community more strongly."
Jets captain Nigel Boogaard believes the double-header will be a drawcard.
"It should be a big event and a great spectacle," Boogaard said.
"Moving forward, I think you will see the new ownership group do more things like this to boost the profile of the game in the country and start to compete with the other codes on those fronts."
The impact of COVID-19 and the uncertainty about the Jets under previous owner Martin Lee has resulted in a drop in membership to just over 5000, a statistic Mattiske plans to improve.
"We would love to more than double our membership," he said. "We are looking to get back to 11,000 members the club had just two years. We are encouraging them to come back now that the club has stability.
"Doing new and exciting things like this double-header, along with the appointment of Craig Deans and getting some momentum on the field, will see those members rejoin and come along with us on this journey."
Phoenix have been based in Wollongong since the start of the season and played home games at WIN Stadium.
Their battle with Roar would have been the first of three games at the same venue in seven days.
"We have worked with Wellington and created an economic model we think that works for them and works for us and Venues NSW," Mattiske said.
"We have sort support from Destination NSW and the local councils. I think it will be good for the community and promote the region into New Zealand, Queensland, Adelaide and Wollongong.
"Mid-March is a great time of year to be in Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter or Lake Macquarie."
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