News on Friday morning that St James Park will once again host Rugby League’s Magic Weekend next May.
Newcastle United play their final Premier League match of the season against Tottenham on the 15th May, then the Magic Weekend follows a week later.
Great to see the stadium being used for other sports and generating extra cash for the club, as well as attracting thousands of visitors to boost the local economy.
Maybe Lee Charnley should have thought twice though before describing last May’s Magic Weekend as one of the best ever events seen at St James Park, considering just how dismal the football has been.
Newcastle hosted the Magic Weekend because Manchester City were having expansion work done on their stadium last summer, at the time it was reported that with more work scheduled for the Etihad next summer then a repeat was likely, so maybe today’s announcement not such a big surprise…
Official Press Release
MAGIC WEEKEND RETURNS TO NEWCASTLE
Following the incredible success of the 2015 Magic Weekend, the Super League’s showpiece event will be returning to St. James’ Park on Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, 2016.
Magic Weekend was first held in Newcastle earlier this year when more than 67,000 fans were in attendance across the course of the weekend – the highest ever for the two-day event.
The fixtures for Magic Weekend 2016 have also been revealed, with 2015 First Utility Super League Grand Finalists Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors playing in the final game on Saturday evening. The Rhinos, who defeated the Warriors 22-20 at Old Trafford, will lock horns with Wigan for the fourth successive year at Magic Weekend at 7pm on Saturday, May 21.
Newcastle United managing director, Lee Charnley, said: “Magic Weekend was, without doubt, one of the best events we have ever hosted here at St. James’ Park.
“We welcomed record crowds, the atmosphere was superb – as was the rugby – and there was a collective effort from all those involved to promote Newcastle and the North-East to visitors from across the UK.
“Ever since the event in May, we have been working hard together with the City Council and our regional partners to attract the Super League back to Newcastle once again.
“We are delighted with today’s announcement and look forward to hosting an even more successful Magic Weekend next year.”
Treble-winning Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott added: “Magic Weekend is a brilliant event and it’s great that it’s going to be in Newcastle again.
“It’s a fantastic stadium and there were lots of fans there this year which created a memorable atmosphere. I am particularly pleased for everyone involved in Rugby League in the North-East.
“I know from personal experience how hard they have worked down the years to promote our game, and it is fitting that they get their reward with another Magic Weekend after the success of last year’s event. Hopefully it will be even better next year.”
Magic Weekend 2015 had a very positive impact on the local economy, with hotel occupancy rates in Newcastle up 25-30 per cent, bars and restaurants’ takings up 40 per cent and with an estimated spend of £4.2million in the city across the weekend.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, said: “It is great news for Newcastle that Super League Magic Weekend will be returning to St. James’s Park.
“It just proves the point that everyone who visits our city wants to come back, and we look forward to once again welcoming the thousands of rugby league fans who thronged the city centre last year.
“The Magic Weekend is a colourful, fun and family friendly event that is a pleasure to host. It is a further sign of our ambition to bring major sporting occasions to Newcastle.
“It puts us on the sporting map and it brings enormous benefits to local businesses. We will be making sure that this isn’t just about one ‘magic weekend’ by doing all we can to use the event to encourage young people in the city to get active and benefit from a lasting sporting legacy.”
Sean Bullick, chief Executive of NE1 Ltd, co-city sponsors of Magic Weekend, said: “NE1 is proud that, alongside Newcastle City Council, we have secured Magic Weekend for the second year running and we are bringing the event back to Newcastle.
“After hosting a hugely successful Magic Weekend 2015 in May, which saw record breaking attendance of over 67,000, we are delighted the event is returning to Newcastle and we look forward welcoming the fantastic rugby league fans back to the city in 2016.”
Super League general manager Blake Solly said: “We are delighted that Magic Weekend will be staged at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park in 2016.
“Magic Weekend this year was a huge success, where we had a record attendance for the weekend and for the Saturday. I would like to thank everyone in Newcastle for their support with the event and hopefully we can build on the brilliant success of 2015.”
All six games from the 2016 Magic Weekend will once again be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings will kick the two-day Rugby League extravaganza off when they go head-to-head at 2.30pm. Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves will square off at 4.45pm before the Grand Final rematch brings the curtain down on an action-packed first day.
Day two begins with Catalans Dragons and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at 1pm followed by Huddersfield Giants facing St Helens in the penultimate game of the weekend.
Magic Weekend climaxes with one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes – the Hull derby – where the city’s bragging rights will be up for grabs between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers.
Tickets for the 2016 Magic Weekend at St. James’ Park, Newcastle, are now on sale and day tickets are priced from £25 for adults and £12.50 for concessions. Weekend tickets are also available from £40 for adults and £20 for concessions.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.
The 2016 Magic Weekend schedule is as follows:
Saturday May 21
2.30pm – Salford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings
4.45pm – Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves
7pm – Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors
Sunday May 22
1pm – Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
3.15pm – Huddersfield Giants v St Helens
5.30pm – Hull FC v Hull Kingston Rovers