SUPER LEAGUE’S Magic Weekend could stay in Newcastle after a record number of visitors generated more than £4million for the local economy.
A second-day crowd of 28,945 took the aggregate total for the 10th annual event to a record 68,276, which is slightly up on the previous best of 67,788 in 2015 and may be enough to persuade organisers to return to St James’ Park in 2017.
Rugby Football League 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 event’s history.”
The event has been taken to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester since it was first held in 2007 and officials say a decision on the venue for next year will be made following a review in the coming months.
Business leaders in the north-east say hotel occupancy in the city centre reached 99 per cent over the weekend and the event is estimated to generate a visitor spend of more than £4.23m.
The 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.”
On the pitch, Hull FC were the big winners as they came from 16-10 down against Hull KR to triumph 28-16 and claim a 10th win from their last 11 games and a record fourth successive Super League Hull derby victory.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats edged out Catalans Dragons 25-24 and Huddersfield Giants romped to a 48-20 triumph over St Helens.
On Saturday, Leeds Rhinos were humbled 40-8 by Wigan Warriors, while Castleford Tigers came from 14-0 down to beat Warrington Wolves 34-14.