Magic Weekend to return to Newcastle in 2020

The annual two-day event will return to St James’ Park on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 23-24.

By Press Association Published: 8 October 2019 - 12.00pm

Super League’s Magic Weekend is heading back to Newcastle in 2020.

The annual two-day event was staged at Anfield for the first time in May but met with mixed reaction and Super League says, after listening to the criticism, they have decided it will return to St James’ Park on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 23-24.

Newcastle hosted the showpiece event four years in a row from 2015-18 after it had previously been held in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester since its inception in 2007.

Wigan's Liam Marshall scores a try
St James’ Park will again host the annual two-day event (Richard Sellers/PA)

In voting overwhelmingly for Newcastle at a meeting on Wednesday, the clubs went against the recommendation of chief executive Robert Elstone, who had spoken publicly of his personal desire to keep the event at Anfield for a second year.

In a statement on Thursday, Elstone said: “Super League had a great time at Anfield.

“In particular, it will be an experience that will live long in the memories of our players.

“However, we have now spoken at length to our fans and listened to what they have had to say.

“In addition, we have had the opportunity to take advantage of some fierce competition for the event from competing venues.

“As a result of both, we are delighted to announce that the Dacia Magic Weekend 2020 will return to Newcastle and St James’ Park.”

Newcastle drew the three highest attendances in Magic history, including a peak of 68,276 in 2016, but only 56,869 made the trip to Liverpool this year.

Anfield drew criticism for the location of the stadium from the city centre and attracted over 11,000 less fans (Richard Sellers/PA)

Many supporters criticised Anfield for its lack of proximity to the city centre in comparison to St James’ Park, which is on the doorstep of Newcastle’s main tourist attractions and easily accessible.

Elstone revealed last month that Super League will consider a plea by Catalans Dragons to take the Magic Weekend in future to France.

Australia’s National Rugby League have been so impressed by the concept that they held their own Magic Weekend in Brisbane this year.