Do Super League need to change the Magic Weekend?

The Magic Weekend is 15 years old, it feels like a long long time since Kevin Sinfield was missing that penalty at the very first Magic Weekend only for Jordan Tansey to scoop up the rebound and score the winner against Bradford. Quite a lot has changed since.

The date of the event has bounced around. In general, it’s stayed in May but has moved between the start and end of the month. Meanwhile, we’ve seen one open the season and last year’s Magic Weekend was the first one to take place towards the end of the season in September. Whilst this week’s will be the first in July.

Of course, the venue has also constantly changed. The first two took place in Cardiff, then there was a move to Edinburgh before going back to Cardiff. Then off to Manchester before a shift to Newcastle. In 2019 we experienced a brief detour to Liverpool and this year we were back to Newcastle and St James’ Park.

But is the weekend still magic? Does it need a revamp to re-introduce the magic which made it so special in the first place?

I’ve seen a number of suggestions over the years. One such idea was replacing it with a nines tournament which certainly seems like an innovative idea especially if the sport utilised nines in the same way cricket uses the Hundred to attract new fans as I recently advocated. Using the Magic Weekend as a showpiece event for a different format of the game could be a really savvy idea. It would get eyes on a different version of our game and attract new fans.

Of course, others have suggested that we take the event outside of the UK which would also be a beneficial idea as it would take our game to new supporters. Perhaps we could capitalise on the recent success of Catalans and Toulouse in France or even go further adrift to somewhere like Italy or outside Europe. If marketed it well it could bring in new fans from the UK looking to explore a new sport and a new place whilst also attracting new supporters in a different country.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen simpler ideas such as using the event to host the Challenge Cup quarter-finals which would provide a further incentive for Championship teams to go far in the competition.

Ultimately, I’ve loved the Magic Weekend since its inception however like everything it needs to remain fresh to keep it relevant and keep new fans coming in.

So, despite the success of this year’s event and last year’s, this is a question Super League always needs to consider even if it is as simple as changing venue again at some point with the RFL revealing that a venue is indeed interested as you can read here.

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