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The Magic Weekend (known as the Dacia Magic Weekend for sponsorship reasons) is an annual event organised by the Rugby Football League in which an entire round of Super League matches is played over a weekend at a single stadium to promote the sport of rugby league.[1]

The first event was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2007, and subsequent events have taken place at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh;[2] the Etihad Stadium, Manchester;[3] St James' Park, Newcastle, and Anfield, Liverpool.[4]

Having established itself on the English rugby league calendar, the Magic Weekend formula has now been copied in other rugby league-playing nations: starting in France in 2017[5] and then in Australia, with the Magic Round (NRL) in 2019.


Contents

ConceptEdit

Millennium Magic logos used for the 2007 event...
...for the 2008 event...
...and for the 2009-2013 events.

The first Millennium Magic round was confirmed in September 2006 for the weekend of 5–6 May 2007.[6][7] Richard Lewis, chairman of the RFL, cited both expansion and monetary reasons for the move to Wales, but the plan also allowed the Super League to be reduced by one round (critics had stated that the players were put under too much strain over the season). The event was funded and promoted by the Welsh Tourist Board, who were looking to build on the Challenge Cup finals which had taken place in Cardiff between 2003 and 2005 due to the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium. After the success of the first Millennium Magic in 2007, it became an annual fixture in the Super League calendar. The event was moved to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh in 2009 following a bid from VisitScotland, and was renamed Murrayfield Magic, and later just the Magic Weekend.

HistoryEdit

2007: CardiffEdit

Three Super League XII fixtures took place on Saturday 5 May 2007, and a further three on Sunday 6 May 2007.

The games played were, where possible, 'local derby' matches in an attempt to maximise interest in the event. The two 'non-heartland' clubs in Super League at that time, Catalans Dragons and Harlequins RL, were paired against each other. The teams would face their Millennium Magic derby opponents four times during the Super League XII season.

Celtic Crusaders opened the weekend against Oldham R.L.F.C. in a National League 2 game on the Friday night (4 May) at Brewery Field, Bridgend. This match officially celebrated 100 years of club rugby league in Wales as Oldham were the first ever opponents to Merthyr Tydfil in the first professional game in Wales on 7 September 1907. In an eventful match, Oldham came back from 26-6 down to win 34-26 in front of 3,441 fans, a record attendance for a National League 2 match. It was also the first National League 2 game shown live on British television, covered by Sky Sports.

A 58,831 aggregate crowd saw the Magic event at the Millennium Stadium.[8] Super League clubs agreed to repeat the event during the following season with Nigel Wood, the RFL's chief operating officer, saying: "The clubs and fans thoroughly enjoyed the day and our aim is to make next year's event even bigger and better."[8]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Catalans Dragons 28–32   Harlequins 5 May 2007 15:00 BST 32,384
  Hull 10–14   Hull Kingston Rovers 5 May 2007 17:00 BST
  St. Helens 34–18   Wigan Warriors 5 May 2007 19:00 BST
  Huddersfield Giants 36–12   Wakefield Trinity 6 May 2007 14:00 BST 26,447
  Salford City Reds 18–50   Warrington Wolves 6 May 2007 16:00 BST
  Bradford Bulls 38–42   Leeds Rhinos 6 May 2007 18:00 BST

2008: CardiffEdit

As in 2007, three Super League XIII fixtures took place on the Saturday (3 May) and a further three on the Sunday (4 May).

The event again kicked off with the local south Wales team, Celtic Crusaders, but this time they were up against Featherstone Rovers at the Brewery Field, Bridgend in a National League 1 match. The Crusaders won the match by 28 point to 18. The match was held in front of a club record crowd of 6,152.[9]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Huddersfield Giants 34–36   Warrington Wolves 3 May 2008 15:00 BST 30,628
  Castleford Tigers 16–54   Wakefield Trinity 3 May 2008 17:00 BST
  Bradford Bulls 26–40   Leeds Rhinos 3 May 2008 19:00 BST
  Catalans Dragons 18–16   Harlequins 4 May 2008 14:30 BST 32,516
  Hull 17–22   Hull Kingston Rovers 4 May 2008 16:30 BST
  St. Helens 57–16   Wigan Warriors 4 May 2008 18:30 BST

2009: EdinburghEdit

It was confirmed after the 2008 event that the weekend was to be moved in 2009 to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. The event included matches based on a seeded draw, using finishing positions from Super League XIII.[10][11]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Salford City Reds 16–24   Harlequins 2 May 2009 15:00 BST 29,627
  Wakefield Trinity 16–32   Bradford Bulls 2 May 2009 17:00 BST
  Wigan Warriors 38–18   St. Helens 2 May 2009 19:00 BST
  Huddersfield Giants 40–16   Crusaders 3 May 2009 12:30 BST 30,122
  Hull 24–16   Castleford Tigers 3 May 2009 14:45 BST
  Catalans Dragons 16–32   Leeds Rhinos 3 May 2009 17:00 BST
  Warrington Wolves 28–36   Hull Kingston Rovers 3 May 2008 19:00 BST

2010: EdinburghEdit

The 2010 Magic weekend took place on 1–2 May 2010 at Murrayfield. After fan criticism of the seeded draw, The RFL decided to ask all 14 Super League clubs whether they would like to revert to derbies. The result favored a seeding again where the top 8 teams faced each other, and the bottom six would play each other.

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Bradford Bulls 0–19   Crusaders 1 May 2010 13:00 BST 26,642
  Hull 8–25   Harlequins 1 May 2010 15:00 BST
  Salford City Reds 16–68   Warrington Wolves 1 May 2010 17:00 BST
  Leeds Rhinos 34–30   Wakefield Trinity 1 May 2010 19:00 BST
  Castleford Tigers 34–18   Catalans Dragons 2 May 2010 14:00 BST 25,401
  Wigan Warriors 28–10   Huddersfield Giants 2 May 2010 16:00 BST
  St. Helens 54–0   Hull Kingston Rovers 2 May 2010 18:00 BST

2011: CardiffEdit

The Magic Weekend returned to its original location at the Millennium Stadium, and it saw the opening round of the 2011 Super League season on the weekend of 12–13 February 2011.[12] The event also returned to the original format with the majority of the games being local rivalry games.[13]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Huddersfield Giants 28–18   Warrington Wolves 12 Feb 2011 13:00 GMT 30,891
  Catalans Dragons 4–11   Harlequins 12 Feb 2011 15:00 GMT
  Castleford Tigers 40–20   Wakefield Trinity 12 Feb 2011 17:00 GMT
  St. Helens 16–16   Wigan Warriors 12 Feb 2011 19:00 GMT
  Crusaders 42–12   Salford City Reds 13 Feb 2011 12:00 GMT 29,323
  Bradford Bulls 28–32   Leeds Rhinos 13 Feb 2011 14:00 GMT
  Hull 22–34   Hull Kingston Rovers 13 Feb 2011 16:00 GMT

2012: ManchesterEdit

The 2012 event was held at the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City Football Club,[14] and was the first time the Magic Weekend was held in England.

The date of the Magic Weekend was changed for 2012, reverting to a mid-season game week rather than as a season opener like 2011. However, unlike the first four Magic Weekends, the matches were played over a weekend at the end of May (after the end of the football season[15]) rather than during the May Day bank holiday weekend at the start of May. Although the last weekend of May is usually the Late Spring Bank Holiday weekend, the Spring bank holiday in 2012 was moved back a weekend as part of the Diamond Jubilee.[16]

Following the premise of previous Magic Weekends, the majority of the fixtures were local rivalry games.[17] 2012 was the first time that Widnes Vikings participated in the Magic Weekend.[18] The aggregate attendance of the weekend was 63,716 (the largest ever).

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Castleford Tigers 26–32   Wakefield Trinity 26 May 2012 13:00 BST 30,763
  Warrington Wolves 68–4   Widnes Vikings 26 May 2012 16:00 BST
  Hull F.C. 30–32   Hull Kingston Rovers 26 May 2012 19:00 BST
  Catalans Dragons 42–18   London Broncos 27 May 2012 12:00 BST 32,953
  Huddersfield Giants 34–38   Salford City Reds 27 May 2012 14:00 BST
  Bradford Bulls 22–37   Leeds Rhinos 27 May 2012 16:00 BST
  St. Helens 16–42   Wigan Warriors 27 May 2012 18:00 BST

2013: ManchesterEdit

The 2013 Magic Weekend was once again held at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May.[19]

As in 2012, the 2013 Magic Weekend took place after the end of the football season in May, on the late Spring bank holiday weekend.

As in previous years, some of the matches were local rivalries with Castleford playing Wakefield Trinity and Hull F.C. Hull Kingston Rovers, both repeat fixtures from 2012. The other four matches were new fixtures for the Magic Weekend and included St. Helens playing Warrington and Bradford vs Huddersfield, continuing the tradition of having local rivalry matches at the Magic Weekend.

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Catalans Dragons 46–18   London Broncos 25 May 2013 12:00 BST 30,793
  Castleford Tigers 48–24   Wakefield Trinity 25 May 2013 14:15 BST
  Hull F.C. 22–16   Hull Kingston Rovers 25 May 2013 16:30 BST
  St. Helens 22–48   Warrington Wolves 25 May 2012 18:45 BST
  Salford City Reds 28–22   Widnes Vikings 26 May 2013 15:00 BST 31,249
  Bradford Bulls 6–42   Huddersfield Giants 26 May 2013 17:15 BST
  Leeds Rhinos 16–20   Wigan Warriors 26 May 2013 19:30 BST

2014: ManchesterEdit

 
Logo for 2014 edition of the Magic Weekend

On 31 May 2013, less than a week after the 2013 Magic Weekend, the RFL announced that the Magic Weekend would once again return to the Etihad Stadium, Manchester for 2014, with matches being played on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 May.[20]

On 23 January 2014, the fixtures were announced with, in a repeat of the 2013 fixtures, four matches set to take place on the Saturday with the remaining three scheduled for Sunday, including four local derbies (Huddersfield-Bradford, Hull Kingston Rovers-Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity-Castleford and Warrington-St Helens R.F.C.) plus the meeting of the last two winners of the Super League Grand Final, Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos. The other matches consisted of Widnes vs Salford and London vs Catalans Dragons.

Controversy was created in the city of Hull following the announcement that the 2014 FA Cup Final was to take place at exactly the same time and date as the fixture between Hull FC and Hull KR, this being the first FA Cup final Hull City had qualified for. The RFL announced on 15 April 2014 that they would not be changing the fixture.[21]

The aggregate attendance of 64,552 was the highest ever for a Magic Weekend, while the Saturday attendance of 36,339 was the highest ever single-day figure until both records were surpassed the consequent year in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  London Broncos 22–24   Catalans Dragons 17 May 2014 12:30 BST 36,339
  Widnes Vikings 30–24   Salford Red Devils 17 May 2014 14:45 BST
  Hull Kingston Rovers 38–24   Hull F.C. 17 May 2014 17:00 BST
  Wigan Warriors 18–14   Leeds Rhinos 17 May 2014 19:15 BST
  Wakefield Trinity 12–50   Castleford Tigers 18 May 2014 12:30 BST 28,213
  Huddersfield Giants 54–16   Bradford Bulls 18 May 2014 14:45 BST
  Warrington Wolves 41–24   St. Helens 18 May 2014 17:00 BST

2015: NewcastleEdit

In 2015, the Magic Weekend was forced to move due to construction at the Etihad Stadium, which would commence immediately after the 2014-15 Premier League Season, which meant the Magic Weekend was due to be changed, with Coventry's Ricoh Arena and Newcastle upon Tyne's St James' Park being considered by the RFL. Blake Solly had confirmed that the Etihad and Super League did have a good partnership, but there were alternatives available to host the event.[22] On 10 September 2014, it was confirmed that the Magic Weekend had been awarded to Newcastle for 2015, and would be played 30 and 31 May 2015. With the Super League Reformatting in 2015, the Magic Weekend featured twelve teams and six matches, as opposed to the seven games in previous years.

The event was considered the most successful to date, with a record aggregate attendance of 67,788, a record single-day crowd of 40,871 on the Saturday and an estimated benefit of £4.2 million to the Newcastle economy.[23]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Salford Red Devils 16–38   Widnes Vikings 30 May 2015 14:30 BST 40,871
  Hull 46–20   Hull Kingston Rovers 30 May 2015 16:45 BST
  Leeds Rhinos 12–27   Wigan Warriors 30 May 2015 19:00 BST
  Catalans Dragons 22–22   Huddersfield Giants 31 May 2015 13:00 BST 26,970
  St. Helens 20–16   Warrington Wolves 31 May 2015 15:15 BST
  Castleford Tigers 56–16   Wakefield Trinity 31 May 2015 17:30 BST

2016: NewcastleEdit

After a successful event in Newcastle in 2015, the Magic Weekend returned to St James' Park for the second year running with most fixtures being based upon last season's league standings rather than local derbies. The top four from last season play each other; Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors and St. Helens v Huddersfield Giants. Continuing with this trend, 5th placed Castleford Tigers play 6th placed Warrington Wolves and the two teams in the bottom four last season, Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils, play in a repeat of last year's fixture. Last season's bottom placed Wakefield Trinity Wildcats play Catalans Dragons: as the Dragons struggle away from home, this fixture is to give both teams a chance of winning. The only derby this year is the Hull Derby at the end of the weekend.

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Salford Red Devils 18–12   Widnes Vikings 21 May 2016 14:30 BST 39,331
  Warrington Wolves 14–34   Castleford Tigers 21 May 2016 16:45 BST
  Leeds Rhinos 8–40   Wigan Warriors 21 May 2016 19:00 BST
  Wakefield Trinity 25–24   Catalans Dragons 22 May 2016 13:00 BST 28,945
  St. Helens 20–48   Huddersfield Giants 22 May 2016 15:15 BST
  Hull F.C. 28–16   Hull Kingston Rovers 22 May 2016 17:30 BST

2017: NewcastleEdit

For the third consecutive season, Magic Weekend returned to Newcastle. This is the Leigh Centurions' first time playing at the Magic Weekend. This is because Magic Weekend first made an appearance in 2007, two seasons after Leigh's relegation.

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Widnes Vikings 12–34   Wakefield Trinity 20 May 2017 14:30 BST 35,361
  Hull F.C. 0–45   St. Helens 20 May 2017 16:45 BST
  Wigan Warriors 24–24   Warrington Wolves 20 May 2017 19:00 BST
  Catalans Dragons 10–18   Huddersfield Giants 21 May 2017 13:00 BST 30,046
  Leigh Centurions 22–36   Salford Red Devils 21 May 2017 15:15 BST
  Castleford Tigers 29–18   Leeds Rhinos 21 May 2017 17:30 BST

2018: NewcastleEdit

For a fourth year in succession, Magic Weekend took place in Newcastle. As a curtain raiser, the first game to be played on the first day was a Championship fixture between Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique.[24]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Toronto Wolfpack 43–30   Toulouse Olympique 19 May 2018 12:45 BST 38,881
  Widnes Vikings 18–38   St. Helens 19 May 2018 15:00 BST
  Wigan Warriors 38–10   Warrington Wolves 19 May 2018 17:15 BST
  Castleford Tigers 38–10   Leeds Rhinos 19 May 2018 19:30 BST
  Salford Red Devils 12-26   Catalans Dragons 20 May 2018 13:00 BST 25,438
  Wakefield Trinity 22-25   Huddersfield Giants 20 May 2018 15:15 BST
  Hull Kingston Rovers 22-34   Hull F.C. 20 May 2018 17:30 BST

2019: LiverpoolEdit

Anfield was chosen as the venue for the 2019 Magic Weekend after two test matches were played there in 2016 and 2018. After previously choosing games that were local derbies or competitive games, in 2019 the fixtures were determined by the previous seasons league position.

Robert Elstone, Super League Chief Executive, said “On behalf of the Super League clubs, we’re delighted to be taking the Dacia Magic Weekend to one of the most famous stadiums in the world.[25]

Team Score Team Date and Time Attendance
  Wakefield Trinity 18-25   Catalans Dragons 25 May 2019 14:00 BST 30,057
  Hull F.C. 2–55   Huddersfield Giants 25 May 2019 16:30 BST
  Wigan Warriors 14–26   Warrington Wolves 25 May 2019 19:00 BST
  Salford Red Devils 20–22   Hull KR 26 May 2019 13:00 BST
  Leeds Rhinos 24-22   London Broncos 26 May 2019 15:30 BST
  St Helens 36-16   Castleford Tigers 26 May 2019 18:00 BST

Team StatisticsEdit

Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points
1   Wigan Warriors 12 8 2 2 18
2   Huddersfield Giants 12 8 1 3 17
3   Castleford Tigers 11 8 0 3 16
4   Warrington Wolves 12 6 1 5 13
5   St. Helens 12 6 1 5 13
6   Hull Kingston Rovers 12 7 0 5 14
7   Leeds Rhinos 12 6 0 6 12
8   Catalans Dragons 12 5 1 6 11
9   Hull F.C. 12 5 0 7 10
10   Salford Red Devils 12 4 0 8 8
11   London Broncos 8 4 0 4 8
12   Wakefield Trinity 12 4 0 8 8
13   Crusaders 3 2 0 1 4
14   Widnes Vikings 7 2 0 5 4
15   Bradford Bulls 8 1 2 7 2
16   Leigh Centurions 1 0 0 1 0

VenuesEdit

City Stadium Years
  Liverpool Anfield 2019
  Newcastle St James' Park 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  Manchester Etihad Stadium 2012, 2013, 2014
  Edinburgh Murrayfield 2009, 2010
  Cardiff Millennium Stadium 2007, 2008, 2011

AttendancesEdit

Year City Stadium Weekend attendance
2007   Cardiff Millennium Stadium 58,831
2008   63,144
2009   Edinburgh Murrayfield   59,749
2010   52,043
2011   Cardiff Millennium Stadium   60,214
2012   Manchester Etihad Stadium   63,716
2013   62,042
2014   64,552
2015   Newcastle St James' Park   67,841
2016   68,276
2017   65,407
2018   64,319
2019   Liverpool Anfield   56,869

Highest weekend attendanceEdit

Year City Stadium Attendance
1 2016   Newcastle St James' Park 68,276
2 2015   Newcastle St James' Park 67,841
3 2017   Newcastle St James' Park 65,407

SponsorshipEdit

Since 2016 Dacia has been the title sponsor of the Magic Weekend.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Super League, 15 July 2008
  2. ^ "Magic Weekend heads to Murrayfield" Archived 2 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Super League, August 2008
  3. ^ "RFL Hails Millennium Magic A Success" Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, The Rugby Football League, May 2007
  4. ^ "Thanks for the most successful Magic Weekend". www.rugby-league.com.
  5. ^ https://www.ffr13.fr/actualite-a-la-une/le-magique-week-end-du-championnat-de-france-de-rugby-a-xiii-est-de-retour/
  6. ^ Super League. Super League. (2013-08-16). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  7. ^ "Super League could head for Wales". BBC News. 4 July 2006.
  8. ^ a b BBC Sport (21 June 2007). "New salary cap for Super League". BBC. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  9. ^ "Second-half blitz too much for brave Fev". Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 27 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Magic Weekend On The Move", BBC News, July 2008
  11. ^ "Super League pulls plug on Cardiff", The Independent, July 2008
  12. ^ "Millennium Magic to start season". 13 August 2010 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  13. ^ Millennium Magic Weekend | 12-13 February 2011 | Engage Super League. Bigcardiff.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  14. ^ "Manchester City's Etihad Stadium to host Magic Weekend". BBC. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Magic Weekend comes to Etihad Stadium". Manchester City F.C. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  16. ^ "New bank holiday for Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012". BBC News. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Magic". Super League. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Harrison Drawn In By Magic Atmosphere". Warrington Wolves. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  19. ^ Tickets for The Magic Weekend 2013 now on sale Archived 13 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Superleague.co.uk (2012-12-04). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  20. ^ "Magic Weekend returns to Etihad Stadium in 2014". Super League. 31 May 2013. Archived from the original on 23 November 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Hull KR v Hull FC Magic Weekend game will not be moved". BBC Sport. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Super League waits to discover if Magic Weekend can return to Manchester in 2015".
  23. ^ Marsh, Michael (5 June 2015). "Magic Weekend: Supporters make Newcastle sparkle as benefit to city is revealed".
  24. ^ "Super League Magic Weekend: Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique XIII to open event". BBC Sport. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  25. ^ rugby league. "Magic Weekend heads to Liverpool". rugby league.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2018.

External linksEdit