Newcastle’s St James’ Park has been chosen to host a full round of First Utility Super League fixtures next May when Rugby League’s unique six-match extravaganza takes place in the north east for the first time.
The Magic Weekend event will see the sport’s elite players from the 12 Super League clubs showcase their skill and athleticism in six matches – three on Saturday, May 30 and three on Sunday, May 31 – at the home of Premier League football club Newcastle United.
Rugby League fans from around the country are expected to converge in their thousands to watch the action and experience the famous hospitality, sights and sounds of a city and region, which welcomes millions of visitors each year.
Magic Weekend has previously been staged in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester but the Etihad Stadium, its home for the last three years, is unavailable next May and Super League general manager Blake Solly believes Newcastle is the ideal venue in 2015.
He said: “St James’ Park is one of Britain’s iconic sporting stadiums and Newcastle is a fantastic destination city that will provide the perfect backdrop to the First Utility Super League Magic Weekend.
“From all our engagement with Newcastle United, Newcastle City Council, NE1 and other agencies, it is clear that the region will welcome Rugby League fans with open arms and I have no doubts that Magic Weekend 2015 will be a huge success.
“We did receive interest in staging Magic Weekend from a number of other venues but none provided as good a fit as Newcastle for many reasons, including its transport links, hotel and accommodation options and opportunities for our fans to enjoy a weekend to remember.”
Sean Bullick, chief executive of NE1 Ltd, said: “NE1 is delighted to be hosting Magic Weekend and to be welcoming Rugby League teams and fans to Newcastle. “The city is well placed to host Magic Weekend and we will give a fabulous welcome to the visiting teams and the thousands of spectators.
“The economic impact of this will be significant, particularly for the hotels and restaurants, as well as the retailers. Similar events such as the 2012 Olympics and Great North Run have generated millions of pounds for the city.
“Large scale events like this do a fantastic job of promoting Newcastle and the wider region. I’m sure visiting fans will have a fantastic time in the city and we hope this will be the best Magic Weekend so far.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council Coun Nick Forbes, said: “I’m delighted that Newcastle has been chosen to host Magic Weekend which will bring additional investment to the City.
“Newcastle has a proven track record of hosting large scale sporting events. With so much to do here and our famous hospitality, visitors are guaranteed a fantastic experience and a taste of Geordie Magic.
“Our city has excellent transport routes so visitors from outside the region will find it nothing short of easy to get to and if they are staying over, hotels to match all budgets.”
Details of Magic Weekend 2015 fixtures and kick-off times will be confirmed in mid-November.
Fans looking to secure discounted accommodation early in the north east can do so via a special Magic Weekend website portal - www.newcastlegateshead.com/magic2015