For the second year in succession record crowds travelled to Newcastle to witness a two-day festival of Rugby League that saw a full round of First Utility Super League fixtures played at the Dacia Magic Weekend.
An all-time record crowd of 68,276 fans packed into St James’ Park across both days for the 10th anniversary of the event.
Speaking after the final game of the weekend, Chief Executive, Nigel Wood, said: “The Dacia Magic Weekend has been an incredible success this year and once again Rugby League fans have turned out in force, creating an incredible atmosphere and helping to make this one of the most memorable weekends in the events history.
“Magic Weekend is a concept which is unique in British sport and the way in which the fans, clubs, volunteers and staff all embrace the occasion helps to make it a continued success. The stars of the event were, as always, the players, who delivered some unforgettable moments across both days that I am sure will live long in the memory of many fans.
“Results across the weekend show that the First Utility Super League is both extremely competitive and wide open this year, with just two points now separating the top four clubs. It promises to be an incredible end to the season.
Saturday saw three games played in front of 39,331 fans as Salford Red Devils, Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors all emerged victorious as the sun shone down on St James’ Park.
And today (Sunday), 28,945 fans were treated to another three great contests as Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC all secured two points.
The total weekend attendance of 68,276 is an all-time Magic Weekend record, surpassing the previous best of 67,788 set last year at the same venue.
Nigel Wood continued: “I would also like to add my personal thanks to the people of Newcastle and the North East region as well as all the partners, sponsors and agencies whose hard work and commitment ensured that Rugby League fans were given such a warm welcome in and around the city of Newcastle.”
Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at NE1 Ltd and joint city sponsor of Magic Weekend Newcastle, commented: “We are delighted with the record attendance figures from this year’s Dacia Magic Weekend. Last year was a huge success with footfall up 37% across the weekend, licensed trade up over 40% and 99% occupancy for the city’s hotels. In addition to this, the Magic Weekend fans are a credit to their sport, creating a friendly festival atmosphere in the city across the weekend.”
“More detailed analysis on the economic impact of the event will be done in due course, but based on the record-breaking attendance figures across the weekend, initial estimates are that visitor spend for Magic Weekend was worth in excess of £4.23m to Newcastle.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “The residents and businesses of Newcastle can yet again be proud of hosting a fabulous sporting occasion that was experienced by record breaking crowds.
“Everyone raised their game from the performers putting on the entertainment through to the stall holders, which has been reflected in the heartfelt feedback we’ve already had from fans about their stay in Newcastle. This has a great deal to do with all of the partnership work that has gone on behind the scenes, making this a wonderful event for everyone to enjoy.”
A decision on the venue for Magic Weekend 2017 will be made following a routine review of this year’s event. This will take place in the coming months.
The results from the Dacia Magic Weekend 2016 were as follows:
Salford Red Devils 18, Widnes Vikings 12
Warrington Wolves 14, Castleford Tigers 34
Leeds Rhinos 8, Wigan Warriors 40
Wakefield Trinity 25, Catalans Dragons 24
St Helens 20, Huddersfield Giants 48
Hull FC 28 , Hull Kingston Rovers 16