Wigan Warriors selling out the DW Stadium is a landmark achievement on more than one level.
The stadium has a capacity of just over 25,000 and is expected to host the biggest World Club Challenge crowd since the game was played between the Sydney Roosters and Wigan in 2014. At that time, 31,515 fans arrived at the Sydney Football Stadium to see the Roosters win against the Warriors by 22 points.
After that game, the crowd for a World Club Challenge has only reached over 20,000 twice, both times hosted by Wigan. They won against the Cronulla Sharks by 22-6 in 2017 and lost to the Roosters in 2019.
The World Club Challenge used to attract crowds of over 20,000 or even 30,000, with the largest crowd coming in 1994 when Wigan played against the Brisbane Broncos and drew 54,220 at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre.
The biggest crowd for a match in England was in 2005 when 37,028 people went to Elland Road to watch the Leeds Rhinos beat the Canterbury Bulldogs in a high-scoring 39-32 thriller.
Wigan, who are four-time champions of the World Club Challenge, will go for their fifth win against the Panthers. Meanwhile, the latter are yet to secure a win in the concept, having lost to Wigan in 1991, to the Bradford Bulls in 2004, and to St Helens at home last year with just over 13,000 fans present.
A return to form this way for the World Club Challenge is exactly why Wigan are one of the leading clubs on the planet.
Where is the 2024 World Club Challenge?
As in 2011, 2017 and 2019, Wigan Warriors are themselves hosting the World Club Challenge at their home ground of the DW Stadium.
Before Wigan hosted the game in 2011, the World Club Challenge had spent a small time being played at local somewhat neutral venues. Leeds hosted the fixture at Elland Road in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. St Helens took the game to Bolton in 2007 and Bradford Bulls played Wests Tigers in 2006 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Wigan changed that trend and will be hosting the game again in 2024. However, this could be the last of its kind with reports that the game could be moved to Vegas or other neutral territory in 2025.
World Club Challenge kick-off time
The game kicks off at 8 pm UK time on Saturday 24th February. This translates to early on Sunday morning for viewers in Australia.
For fans of Penrith in Penrith, the game will kick at 7 am down under which isn’t too bad. There are worse things you could watch when eating your breakfast. They will be hoping to see Jarome Luai return as they eat their cereal.
The game will be shown by Sky Sports but there are reports that BBC could also cover the game as part of their reported new agreement with RL Commercial.
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