Rating each Magic Weekend venue

As it should have been Magic Weekend this week, we rate the five venues where the event has been staged.

5. Anfield

Anfield has hosted several rugby league events since the new Main Stand was opened. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

Anfield Stadium has been the home of Liverpool FC since their formation in 1892, it was even the home of Merseyside rivals Everton before then.

The stadium has hosted some rugby league games over the years. It hosted the international between England and Wales in 1935.

It also hosted two St Helens home matches in 1997 and 1998. Both resulted in victories for the Saints against Castleford and Warrington respectively.

Since the Main Stand was expanded in 2016, the stadium has hosted some rugby league events again. It played host to the Four Nations Final in the same year, and then hosted the second test between England and New Zealand in 2018.

Then in 2019, it hosted the Magic Weekend for the first time. However, attendances were the lowest they had been since Murrayfield. It was 30,000 on Day One, and 26,000 on Day Two.

There are several potential reasons why attendances were down. Some put it down to petty football rivalries, while others put it down to the distance from the city centre.

Magic Weekend went back to Newcastle a year later.

4. Murrayfield

Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh hosted two Magic Weekend Events. Credit: Calum404 (Wikimedia). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Murrayfield has been the home of Scotland Rugby Union for many years.

It hosted two Challenge Cup Finals following the closure of the Old Wembley. Bradford beat Leeds there in 2000, and Wigan beat St Helens there in 2002. Both finals were well attended, both had over 60,000 in attendance.

Then seven years later, it hosted Magic Weekend after two years in Cardiff. The first year was a big success, with 30,000 and 29,000 attending over the two days.

However, in 2010, attendances were down, Just 25,000 and 26,000 attended over the two days. Magic Weekend was then moved back to Cardiff.

3. Millennium Stadium

The Millennium Stadium has hosted World Cup Matches, Challenge Cup Finals and Magic Weekend. Credit: David Roberts (Wikimedia) This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Millennium Stadium has been the home of Welsh Rugby Union for many years. Among many other things, it has been used as the home of English cup finals following the closure of the old Wembley.

It hosted two World Cup matches back in 2000, as well as three Challenge Cups and a test match between Wales and New Zealand.

Then in 2007, it played host to the inaugural Magic Weekend. Both days were fairly well attended. 32,000 were there on Day One, and then 26,000 were there on Day Two.

The event stayed there in 2008. At it’s peak, 18,000 were there om Day One, and 28,000 were there on Day Two.

After a two-year absence, it then returned to Cardiff in 2011, where it had it’s best attendance. 30,000 on Day One and then 29,000 on Day Two.

After that, the event moved to Manchester.

2. The Etihad Stadium

The Etihad Stadium hosted three Magic Weekend events before it went to Newcastle. Credit: Espandero (Wikimedia) This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Initially opened as the City of Manchester Stadium for the Commonwealth Games in 2003, The Etihad Stadium had since been the long-term home of Manchester City.

Just weeks before the first Magic Weekend there in 2012, the stadium had seen the most dramatic conclusion to a Premier League season, as City won the title. This set the perfect tone for Magic Weekend.

Three events took place there, each were well attended. Including a day-record in 2014, as 36,000 fans attended.

However, the event had to be moved, as Manchester City announced plans to expand the stadium during the time Magic Weekend was supposed to be played.

Transport was very handy there, as trams would often run between the stadium and the city centre.

1. St James Park

Magic Weekend has been in Newcastle for four of the last five seasons. Credit: News Images

Following the move from Manchester, Magic Weekend moved up to Newcastle, an area Super League had tried to conquer before.

This time, they took Magic Weekend to St James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United.

Attendances continued to really soar there. A new day record was set in 2015, as 40,000 fans made the journey to Newcastle for the weekend.

There was only two occasions over four seasons that attendances were below 30,000, which is brilliant for the game.

It was due to return to Newcastle in 2020, but it has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans would often comment on the fact that the stadium was close to the city centre. Therefore, it was close to a lot of bars, restaurants and hotels.

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