Interim Super League General Manager admits that hopes are high the Magic Weekend can break yet more records in 2016.
Speaking exclusively to TotalRL, Foster revealed that the RFL are actually ahead of like-for-like ticket sales on this time last year, when a record crowd of over 67,000 packed into St James’ Park to smash the attendance record for the event.
And with the 70,000 figure an obvious target, Foster admitted they are hopeful of a new record, and said they’re delighted to be back in Newcastle after an overwhelming success last year.
“It would be nice to hit the 70,000 barrier – and we’re ahead of where we were last year, which is a reason to be optimistic,” he said.
“We are targeting to beat attendance records again this year. I think we always felt it would come back. We sat down after the event and we did a fan survey of people that have been, we listen to the players and the clubs and it was an overwhelming case to persuade us to come back.”
Foster is new to the job of Super League GM having replaced Blake Solly whilst the Australian’s permanent replaced is hunted for, and he says he’s taken to the role well thus far.
“The clubs have been great; we’ve got a great team at Media City and Red Hall who are working hard to get this event sent off with a bang. I’ve enjoyed it so far.
“I’ve been as hands-on as I would have been anyway. I haven’t noticed a great deal of difference as the whole team have contributed massively to the success of it.”
And with the obvious attention on what size crowd the Magic Weekend can attract this year, Foster was quick to point out that the weekend can do much more for the sport in the Newcastle region than put bums on seats inside St James’ Park.
“There’s clearly a bigger percentage of the audience represented by rugby league fans travelling up, but getting the local support is absolutely key.
“The fact Newcastle Thunder and the Sky Try programme are both here already is fantastic, and it means we want to try and leave a legacy here.”