It feels like an end of an era for the Magic Weekend with the event set to move away from Newcastle United’s St James’ Park in 2024.
This has been widely reported, and Serious About Rugby League understands that this is indeed the case with the new stadium set to be the home of Leeds United in the shape of Elland Road.
Elland Road has a long history with rugby league even within the last few years. It hosted the 2022 World Cup semi-final between Australia and New Zealand which was widely considered the game of the tournament.
Meanwhile, it held the Challenge Cup semi-final double header as Wigan Warriors and St Helens met alongside Huddersfield Giants and Hull KR. That was part of a triple header with the women’s Challenge Cup Final between St Helens and Leeds Rhinos.
In the past, Elland Road has hosted the final of the Four Nations such as in 2011 and a number of World Club Challenges involving Leeds such as in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Leeds also played Hull KR and Castleford Tigers in 2018 as they continued work on their stadium.
Serious About Rugby League understands that an announcement is likely and can also reveal the likely reasons behind why Newcastle will no longer host the event. The planned August date was key with the event no longer able to take place during the middle of the football off-season whilst the change of ownership of football club has also been key.
Clubs are keen on the move and the RFL are working to make it a special event in 2024 with the future of the overall concept a concern at this point with IMG originally planning to end the Magic Weekend to provide a greater emphasis on the Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final.
If this is a success, the concept will likely persist if not then this could be the final Magic Weekend as IMG rework the calendar moving forward.
The Challenge Cup is set for a drastic reformat moving forward as well as IMG place their stamp on things. The cup final has already been moved forward to June which is why the Magic Weekend has had to move.