Newcastle council bosses are keen to retain Super League Magic Weekend at St James’ Park for at least 2024, according to reports.
The future of the showcase event has been a hot topic in recent weeks, with global sports media giants IMG having initially planned to axe the weekend as part of its 12-year partnership with rugby league.
However, Magic Weekend is set to return at least in 2024 following unanimous support from the top 12 flight clubs and prospective broadcasters, including existing right holders Sky.
Managing director of RFL commercial, Rhodri Jones, said that the future of Magic Weekend is set to be determined by the end of this month, citing stadium availability as one of the biggest hurdles.
The Challenge Cup final is expected to shift to earlier in the year, posing one problem as any move for Magic Weekend could clash with the football season.
However, Chronicle Live has reported that council bosses are ‘fully committed’ to bringing Magic Weekend back to the north east for its eighth edition in 2024, with the city of Newcastle estimated to make up to £8million from the event.
Council bosses want to keep Super League Magic Weekend in Newcastle
Labour councillor Alex Hay, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member responsible for culture, commented: “It is worth noting that, until recently, rugby league’s Super League had indicated that this year would mark the final Magic Weekend.
“However, given the success of this year’s event, Magic Weekend has expressed an interest in returning next year. With support of the Super League clubs, there is a renewed desire to bring this fantastic event back to Newcastle.”
RFL commercial managing director Jones previously conceded: “Probably the biggest challenge is availability of city and stadium.
“A stadium like St James’s Park in June or July doesn’t have a pitch, and in August they will be a Champions League club, so we’ve got some hurdles to overcome in general.
“I can’t give a definitive answer about the future of Magic, but it’s something we are definitely looking at for next year.”
Responding to a question from Liberal Democrat Greg Stone amid the scheduling issues, Coun Hay said: “If these arrangements can be made, the council is fully committed to allocating the necessary budget to support the event alongside working with the football club, the North of Tyne Combined Authority, and Super League.
“As an administration, we recognise the importance of fostering partnerships with organisations that align with our priorities – and Magic Weekend undoubtedly falls into that category.
“Therefore we will continue to work collaboratively to ensure Newcastle continues to host Magic Weekend in the years to come.”