Magic Weekend has become a big part of the Super League calendar since the first event in Cardiff back in 2007, but does it need to change?
For 2020, they announced it would return to Newcastle after a disappointing year in Liverpool back in 2019, but will a change of venue make it a success again?
For me, the empty seats will be a problem. No matter what the venue, there will always be empty seats as games come and go. A lot of people may only stay for their teams match, and then go and linger elsewhere or even go home.
In stadiums such as Anfield and St James Park, then those empty seats can look all the more prevalent, and it doesn’t create a good look for the game.
I do agree that it is good to take the game to new areas. However, I don’t believe the format of Magic Weekend is beneficial for the game. An extra round also makes the table seem slightly lopsided. Especially considering there are some wild scores there.
For me, I believe it either needs to be an exhibition event, so a friendly event before the start of the season or something like that, or it needs to be part of a round, and not a separate one.
I have heard calls for it become a Nines tournament or something similar. Something like this could be really good for pre-season and get the fitness levels of players up.
It could also be beneficial for Super League to return to ‘on the road’ games. I believe it could bring more to the game than a weekend of fixtures in one stadium.
For example, when Catalans took on Wigan at the Nou Camp. That was really good for the game, and I feel like it could be worth exploring this more.
Back in 1998, Super League did experiment with this. Spread across three weeks, all 12 Super League teams played fixtures away from home. However, attendances were not great, they were below average for many teams.
A potential solution would be to put the venues closer to where the teams are based. In 1998, two games took place in South Wales, two took place in Gateshead, and then the others were in Edinburgh and Northampton. A lot of which are out the way of the Super League sides.
With Magic Weekend and the loop fixtures, there is a feeling that some fixtures do get oversaturated. Teams should just play each other twice a year in the regular season. However, in some cases, teams can play each other up to four times. The novelty can wear off.
Those are just a couple of potential solutions, what would you do?