Draper hints at long-term preference to next Magic Weekend event

Super League supremo Roger Draper has suggested that the Magic Weekend venue in 2018 could be a long-term choice for several years.

The debate of where one of the year’s biggest events could head next season is high on the agenda as St James’ Park gears up to host Magic Weekend for a third successive year this weekend.

And Draper told TotalRL that wherever the event goes next, it is likely to stay there for some time to create an element of sustainability.

“Five years is perhaps too long because you can never be sure what will happen,” he said.

“But having three years, with a review after two, you can build an event and it gives you stability and the opportunity for fans to book things in advance knowing where they’re going and what they’re doing.

“I know a lot of sports fans like consistency and continuity and when one events finishes, fans get hotels booked up. A stop-start approach wouldn’t help.”

Draper also said that the weekend’s ticket sales suggest it could yet enter the top three performing Magic events of all-time: if that happened, all the top three attended weekends would be the Newcastle trilogy of recent years.

“We’ve done 11 Magic Weekends and we’re tracking to be the third best,” he said.

“It could be the second best ever; the best was 67,000 and we’re between 60 and 65,000.

“The best two have been at Newcastle but for a number of different reasons, you do sometimes get a dip in the third year. Hull KR normally take a big following – they’re taking over 2,500 to Blackpool  for the Summer Bash – and if they were coming, the crowd would be bigger.”