RFL: Hotel prices forced Magic away from Cardiff

The Rugby Football League have alleged that the reason for their switch of the Magic Weekend to Edinburgh was connected to the high cost of hotel prices in Cardiff.nnThe event in which all the fixtures from one round of the engage Super League was held at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for two years and was known as Millennium Magic.nnBut this year the RFL decided that the games would be staged at Murrayfield in Edinburgh and the name changed to become non-specific.nnRFL communications officer Craig Spence has said that the reason was because feedback from supporters indicated they could not afford the cost of a hotel stay in the Welsh capital.nn“When we got our fans’ survey back quite a few people complained the cost of hotels shot up during that weekend,” said Spence.nn“Some of them were forced to stay in budget hotels in Swansea, with some even camping out because hotels were too expensive.nn“Edinburgh has nearly twice as many rooms as Cardiff and although prices do go up – fans can still find affordable accommodation.”nnAndy Gatcliffe, Warrington Wolves chief executive, has criticised the way the event was handled by the Millennium Stadium, implying the stadium was not interested in the event.nn“They started selling tickets about a week before, which is very short notice,” Gatcliffe said. “The commitment just wasn’t there.nn“The Welsh tourist board and Cardiff council had put money up, wanting to get visitors in the area and helping the economy.”nnThe Magic Weekend saw over 60,000 fans visit the city and was worth £10m to the local economy.nnMillennium Stadium boss Gerry Toms said, “I know the rugby league officials have been critical of the hotel prices and we’ve expressed our concern about it.nn“Cardiff is competing with a lot of other cities and although I believe none of them can offer the service we can, we should not get complacent.nnToms directly refuted Gatcliffe’s assertion that tickets went on sale late, saying, “But I disagree the commitment was not there because tickets were on sale months before.”nnIt is commonly believed that the event was held in Cardiff to try and generate interest in Celtic Crusaders’ expected entry into Super League, with Edinburgh earmarked for the next geographical expansion.

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