‘Struggled financially’ – Championship Summer Bash scrapped as part of IMG’s calendar overhaul

Magic Weekend is one of the highlights of the season for Super League fans and has been so successful that it’s been copied by the NRL, however the same can’t be said for the Championship equivalent with the Summer Bash now set to be cut from the calendar.

It had initially been part of IMG’s plans to cut Magic Weekend with the marketing agency recommending that all loop fixtures be removed from the schedule, however the financial success of Magic and general support from fans has swayed opinion with the event now looking set to remain.

The same sadly can’t be said for the Championship equivalent with the Summer Bash looking likely to be taken off the table and shelved as per Serious About Rugby League’s understanding.

Initially implemented at Blackpool the event started with success but in the most recent two seasons it’s been taken away from it’s initial home and on the road to both Headingley and York’s LNER Stadium in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The success of the most recent two events hasn’t been on par with it’s days in Blackpool and as such the financial viability of the Bash has come into question, Serious About Rugby League understanding that the event has ‘struggled financially’.

Across the two days at York Knights’ LNER Stadium earlier this year in May the attendance tallied 6,741, despite the incredible weather and eight games on show with York Valkyrie also playing. That attendance was a significant drop from the Blackpool prime of the event where it was regularly hitting a crowd of 15,000.

Even in the 2022 edition which was hosted at Headingley a crowd of five figures turned out to watch with 10,763 across the two days, over 4,000 more than this most recent event.

As such it would appear that the Bash will be put on the back burner for 2024, something that is even more likely given that Championship sides are still in discussions over the potential set-up and structure for 2024.

It had been confirmed to Serious About Rugby League yesterday that teams across the Championship and League One had been handed a proposal for how the upcoming season will work, yet no official decision had been made. Questions had been raised following Newcastle Thunder announcing their collapse, before then reversing the decision and seeking funds to survive.

With the IMG grading era set to officially start at the end of the 2024 season and being implemented for 2025 it would seem that the decision to cut the Bash is just the first step in this new era of rugby league.