In the new era of rugby league under IMG, it’s not just about how you play rugby but also where because Super League stadiums are now vital to a team’s Super League status.
That has been evident already in the preliminary grades with Bradford Bulls blaming their stadium for their ranking in 14th as a Grade B team, when they sat just 0.43 points shy of Leigh Leopards in 12th.
Of course, at present the top 12 teams under the IMG rankings ahead of the 2025 season will be confirmed as the 12 teams to compete in Super League meaning that a stadium could genuinely cost teams their Super League status.
Serious About Rugby League have created a list of the five best Super League stadiums heading into the 2024 season, but first, what makes a stadium great?
What makes Super League stadiums great?
Each fan will likely claim that their team’s stadium is the best in Super League but there are certain criteria that separate one ground from another, with some of these being essential for an elite stadium.
The atmosphere within the ground is undoubtedly the biggest requirement for a Super League stadium and in part that does come from the fans, however, certain grounds do seem to hold and maintain an atmosphere far better than others.
For example, when BullsMaina was at its peak Odsal became a fortress with the noise echoing around the oval-shaped structure making it seem almost gladiatorial.
Another key requirement for a top stadium is that there shouldn’t be a bad seat in the house, this isn’t always possible but far too many stadiums fail on this metric.
With that in mind here are the five best Super League stadiums heading into the 2024 season.
Craven Park – Hull Kingston Rovers
The Robins know how to get Craven Park rocking and with the team currently eyeing up more success in 2024 then this stadium is one that will be brilliant to attend.
Recent developments at Craven Park have seen Craven Streat implemented with the area becoming a hub of activity pre-game, particularly for those with families.
More developments have seen a big screen go in at the stadium during the off-season but the beauty of Craven Park is within the East Stand.
Come game time when that little tune of the Red Robin starts up then the East Stand is one of the strongest atmospheres to be found at a rugby league ground on either side of the equator.
Headingley Stadium – Leeds Rhinos
An obvious choice for the list is one of Super League’s most iconic stadiums with Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley home viewed by many as one of the best about.
It’s no coincidence that this is a stadium regularly chosen to host international games or one that is used as a neutral ground either.
Last season Headingley hosted the Challenge Cup semi-final between Hull KR and Wigan Warriors, whilst it also held the third and final test during the England and Tonga international series.
Without doubt, Headingley is one of the best venues in rugby league and it even boasts plenty more than just a good atmosphere, the stadium offering a hotel and more too.
Leigh Sports Village – Leigh Leopards
How can you not rank Leigh Sports Village as one the best Super League stadiums after the season that we’ve just had?
The LSV was at the epicentre of one of the best rugby league stories in a long time with Leigh’s controversial rebranding proving to be a roaring success.
On top of that every game at the LSV was an event with pre-match entertainment provided before a strong showing of rugby.
Owner Derek Beaumont has tapped into a new way of marketing rugby league and providing something for everyone and long may it continue into 2024 and beyond.
Stade Gilbert Brutus – Catalans Dragons
It might be a logistical nightmare for English fans to travel over at times but when you’re there in Perpignan you realise it is certainly worth making the trip.
For many of Super League’s hardcore fans, the first date they pick out from the Super League fixture launch is when their team play Catalans away and there’s good reason for that.
Many use it as a mini-break and holiday whereas others simply go for the party atmosphere that consumes you as one of those travelling fans at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Testament to that was the exceptional support that Salford Red Devils’ fans showed in 2023 in spite of them being nilled, as well as the electric atmosphere seen in the playoff semi-final between the Dragons and St Helens.
The Totally Wicked Stadium – St Helens
One of just a couple of purpose-built rugby league stadiums, there was a toss-up between the Totally Wicked and Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium, but St Helens take it with the more modern facility.
Their new home is just over a decade old and it had an iconic ground in Knowsley Road to live up to but the Totally Wicked definitely does that.
A larger capacity helps with that as does the overall modernisation which has seen the stadium used as a neutral venue and for international games, just like Headingley.
It was one of the venues used at the 2021 World Cup and also saw Tonga take on England this past year but the best example of atmosphere in recent times came during James Roby’s final home game against Warrington Wolves, a truly memorable moment.
During Round One of the Betfred Super League, a shocking incident occurred at the...
During Round One of the Betfred Super League, Castleford Tigers‘ player Liam Watts was...
Leeds Rhinos‘ new signing Paul Momirovski and opponent Ryan Brierley were both sent to...