Wigan Warriors- OPINION: The Magic Weekend is still a key part of the Super League calendar but it's losing its spark

Wigan Warriors’ next outing sees them head to Newcastle for the Magic Weekend at St James’ Park.
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The event is a Super League staple, with the first addition coming all the way back in 2007.

It has been held at a number of venues, but has settled in the North East in recent times.

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There’s no doubt Newcastle is a fantastic place for this event to take place.

St James' ParkSt James' Park
St James' Park

St James’ Park is right in the city centre, and it’s a stunning ground.

There’s no denying it’s popular, but has it been overused to the point where it no longer feels like a special occasion?

The stadium was used for both the Magic Weekend and the Rugby League World Cup opener last year.

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Fans will always flock to Newcastle because it is such a popular place, but perhaps rugby league should’ve gone elsewhere this season.

The Magic Weekend was previously held at Anfield back in 2019The Magic Weekend was previously held at Anfield back in 2019
The Magic Weekend was previously held at Anfield back in 2019

Surely the Magic Weekend should deliver on two fronts.

Firstly, it is there to give the fans a different and unique day out at a big venue.

It’s a festival of rugby and provides everyone a chance to experience a big occasion- with the Grand Final at Old Trafford and the conclusion of the Challenge Cup at Wembley being the only bigger events in the calendar.

The second purpose of the concept is to take the sport on the road to new places to grow the audience.

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Without straying too far from the heartlands, it’s important that more people are introduced to the game.

By constantly returning to Newcastle we are losing a bit of that.

Even if someone hasn’t watched rugby league before, they may be interested to attend the Magic Weekend if it’s being held on their doorstep at a reasonable price.

Look at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, as soon as something is being hosted close to home people get behind even the most obscure of sports.

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Of course, it’d be difficult to find somewhere that matches Newcastle’s popularity, and that’s why we should never fully turn our back on St James’ Park, but trying somewhere different every other year could be the key.

They tried Anfield back in 2019, and it didn’t have the same feel to it due to it not being in the city centre.

It would be the same with a lot of potential grounds- such as the Etihad for example.

Nonetheless there are ways around this. The organisers would need to ensure that transport is frequent to the ground, and perhaps hold a fan zone in the centre of whatever city is the host.

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Unfortunately the Magic Weekend may come to an end completely, with IMG planning to scrap the concept.

While it may have lost a bit of its shine, there should still be a place for it in the Super League schedule.

It does need a revamp of sorts, but getting rid of it completely would be a mistake.

To grow the game we need to find ways to get more people watching, and the Magic Weekend still has the power to do that.