Updated: Sunday, 8th December 2019 @ 5:52am

Rugby league's Magic Weekend shuns Manchester in favour of Newcastle return

Rugby league's Magic Weekend shuns Manchester in favour of Newcastle return

| By Josh Phillips

Manchester’s Etihad Stadium has missed out on regaining rugby league’s big Magic Weekend event for 2016.

Having hosted the event from 2012 to 2014, it was moved to St James’ Park in Newcastle while construction work was undertaken to expand Manchester City’s home.

Etihad Stadium chiefs hoped the event would return to Manchester for the 2016 season but Super League General Manager explained why they opted for the North-East over the North-West.

“We’re delighted that Magic Weekend will be staged at Newcastle’s St James’ Park in 2016.

“Magic Weekend this year was a huge success. We had a record attendance for the weekend and it contained some incredible moments that will live long in the memory.

“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.”

When the event first came to Manchester in 2012, weekend crowds saw an increase from 60,214 to 63,716.

By 2014 that figure once again rose up to 64,552 and the feeling among Super League fans was that the event would return in 2015 for another successful weekend.

When it was then announced that the Etihad would be unable to host the event in 2015, Super League turned to Newcastle in what was thought to be a one-off host city.

However the 67,841 weekend attendance figure blew away Super League chiefs and today’s news merely confirms what many were expecting.

Despite the news, Manchester still has every chance of hosting the event in future years and Etihad stadium bosses will be likely to apply to host the 2017 event.

The Magic Weekend has also taken place at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and Edinburgh’s Murrayfield and prior to last year’s event Manchester was the most popular choice among fans.

Image courtesy of Super League TV via YouTube, with thanks.