NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle United Football Club have pulled off a major coup and will be bringing the Rugby Football League (RFL) Dacia Magic Weekend back to Newcastle in 2018, for an unprecedented fourth year in a row.
The RFL announced their decision to bring Magic Weekend back to the city and St James’ Park as part of the grand unveiling of RFL fixtures for 2018. Magic Weekend is a huge event in the RFL calendar and for the past three years has made its home here in Newcastle at St James’ Park.
This year, five other UK cities were in the running to host the games but Newcastle beat off this stiff competition to secure the games for the fourth year in a row, something no other UK city has ever achieved.
Newcastle has a strong track record of hosting and attracting major sporting events and past experience has shown that the city delivers. The three previous Magic Weekends have achieved the top three record-breaking attendance figures ever recorded for the games.
Last year, audience figures topped over 65,000 with over 90% of supporters attending from outside the region, which boosted the local economy by over £9 million.
NE1 Ltd with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle United Football Club prepared a strong case for Newcastle to host the event next year and their efforts have paid off.
As well as bringing the Dacia Magic Weekend to the city, the RFL also invest in grass roots sports development in the North East through the Sky Try programme linked to Magic Weekend. In the week leading up to the Games, a Community Day is hosted at St James’ Park with over 1000 young people playing Rugby League on the pitch.
All of this, plus the work that Newcastle Thunder and the community Rugby League clubs are doing in the North East has resulted in a rise in the number of people playing and watching the sport in the region. Over 10,000 tickets were sold to people in the North East last year, a target that is set to increase this year.
Super League General Manager, Mark Foster said;
“We are delighted to be bringing the Dacia Magic Weekend back to Newcastle for a fourth year. We had a number of other cities bid to host what is a fantastic event but Newcastle is a great venue for us – the stadium, the welcome we receive from the people of the North East mean that our fans love to come to Newcastle for the weekend. The support from Newcastle City Council, NE1, and Newcastle United help make the games extremely successful. We are really excited to return next year and hope to achieve record attendances in Newcastle for the fourth year running.”
Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said:
“We are delighted to be hosting Magic Weekend in Newcastle for a fourth year running, something no other city has ever achieved. Each year the event gets bigger and better as more people get acquainted with the phenomenon that is Magic. The impact of Magic Weekend on the city is significant and the rugby games on the pitch are only part of the story – Magic brings a carnival atmosphere to the city and there’s a real buzz over the weekend with the thousands of Magic Weekend fans filling the city’s hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. We have a strong track record of hosting major events in Newcastle and now, having secured Magic Weekend for 2018, next year is set to be the biggest year in recent memory for hosting major events. We can’t wait to deliver another hugely successful event.”
Cllr Kim McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities at Newcastle City Council said: “ We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting Dacia Magic Weekend for a fourth successive year, and to be working with partners to deliver another successful event and attract record breaking crowds.
“Newcastle now has a really strong reputation for hosting major sporting and cultural events, and fans come back time and time again to experience our great city and what is has to offer.
“2018 is set to be a big year for Newcastle with Magic Weekend and the Great Exhibition of the North, and we’re committed to making sure it’s truly memorable for everyone.”
Lee Charnley, Newcastle United’s managing director said:
“We’re very proud to have hosted the Dacia Magic Weekend for the last three years, and as excited as always to be hosting this magnificent sporting event once again in 2018.
“As everyone who’s attended in previous years will know, it’s a fantastic weekend of rugby which has consistently welcomed sell-out crowds and has become of the ‘jewels in the crown’ in Newcastle’s annual sporting calendar.
“We’re delighted that the Super League continue to recognise the quality of the venue, facilities and support we provide at St James’ Park, as well as the great working relationship we have developed with the Super League and our partners across the city in playing host to such a fantastic event.”