With speculation over where next year’s Magic Weekend will be held growing, I take a look at four possible venues that could host the event in 2018.
The city of Newcastle has hosted the event for the past three years and with fans expressing their delight at the cities success as a host they will want it to stay.
The almost perfect venue for Magic Weekend, Newcastle is one of the most popular city break destinations. With pubs and bars situated around the stadium this is why it is the fans ideal location.
Having been to this year’s event, I for one can certainly say that Newcastle is fantastic. Its cultural vibe and the love of sport is something that I look for in a city, its access to facilities is amazing and it is the ideal choice for me…
However there are downfalls to hosting the event at St James Park. The first being the high capacity, with a maximum capacity of 54,000 St James Park is a very large venue and one that looks very poor when there isn’t a high attendance especially considering the weekend attendance was 65,000.
The atmosphere across the weekend was amazing especially during the Hull FC vs St Helens game and Castleford vs Leeds. This atmosphere would be way better in a lower capacity stadium, some of which I will be talking about later.
A venue that has hosted Magic Weekend before, it hosted the event in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and it could return there in 2018.
The venue is idea for rugby league fans as it is located within all the teams (excluding Catalans) home grounds, this enables them to travel there pretty quickly.
This along with high quality transportation to and from the stadium makes it an ideal location for the Magic Weekend to return to.
Below are the attendance figures for the three times it was held at the home of Manchester City…
As those figures show it was a very consistent venue, and having attendances close to that of Newcastle.
The location is also ideal as it is just 2.2 miles between the ground and the city centre, this combined with Manchester’s famous night life will make it a suitable location for 2018.
The main issue with this stadium like Newcastle is its capacity… as see in the three magic weekends it has hosted the stadium was half full. This makes it look unattractive when on Sky and makes the atmosphere less impressive.
Anfield is the leading favourite to host Magic Weekend in 2018.
This comes after a successful attempt at hosting an international test match which saw the home of Liverpool host the four nations final last year.
The recent addition of an expanded main stand brought the capacity to 54,000 means that it will be able to hold enough people.
When the venue hosted the 2016 Four Nations final, it drew in just over 40,000 people, which is the biggest crowd for a final in that competition since it started in 2009.
This stadium like the others has its disadvantages, like Manchester its location pays the price. Located almost 3 miles from Liverpool city centre, Anfield is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the fans response.
The Riverside Stadium, is the home of Middlesbrough Football Club and holds 33,000 people which is much less than previous stadiums that have hosted Magic Weekend.
However the reason why this stadium has been chosen is the same reasons as Newcastle, being one of the biggest cities in the North East means that there is a huge target audience for rugby league in that region.
Middlesbrough is a city with a proud sporting history, and the stadiums location is ideal for fans as it is located less than two miles from the city centre. If the RFL is wanting the game to expand in England than Middlesbrough could be the best option, this would generate a lot of interest both financially and for the game of rugby league.