NRL rugby league team the Penrith Panthers will continue to play at BlueBet Stadium in 2023 after the state government in New South Wales commenced commercial negotiations for the acquisition of the nearby Penrith Paceway horse-racing venue with a view to building a new stadium on the site.

In December, it was announced that a brand-new stadium would be built on the site of the current BlueBet Stadium. The 2022 NRL season had appeared to be the Panthers’ last at BlueBet Stadium but the team will continue to play at the 22,500-capacity venue for at least one more year after the government opted to change the location of its planned new stadium.

The NSW government announced today (Tuesday) that it has commenced commercial negotiations to purchase the Penrith Paceway site as part of a new stadium development. The government also confirmed that the existing BlueBet Stadium would continue to be available for the Panthers in the immediate future.

The decision to focus on the Penrith Paceway site for the new stadium follows a six-week community consultation programme, which gathered feedback from over 3,000 people.

It is hoped the Paceway site will facilitate a “state-of-the-art” stadium that can provide an improved game-day experience for fans, with modern amenities that can form part of a wider precinct for every-day use.

Timing of the construction for a new stadium will be confirmed once the acquisition process is completed and the scope for the new stadium has been determined. The acquisition process is expected to be completed in late 2022.

Panthers chief executive Brian Fletcher said: “On behalf of all at Panthers, we’re delighted to remain at BlueBet Stadium for the 2023 NRL season. To continue to play home fixtures at BlueBet Stadium is a great result for the Penrith community, as it provides certainty to members and fans, corporate partners and all stakeholders of the Panthers.”

Penrith Paceway is located just across the road from BlueBet Stadium. It is hoped that a new stadium could be built by 2025.

Image: Jason L/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size