When the Championship fixtures are announced at the end of this week there will be plenty of things people are looking out for.
But perhaps the biggest talking point ahead of the reveal will be the location of the Summer Bash, which has become the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks.
The event, which will enjoy its fifth birthday next year, has been held at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road since being brought into the calendar in 2015.
However, proposals are on the table to take the event away from the seaside resort in 2019, and it has most certainly split opinion among supporters in the Championship.
Clubs have been left to decide over the next location of the weekend showpiece. While Blackpool remains an option, four alternative locations have been proposed in Bradford’s Odsal Stadium, York City Knights’ new ground, Kingston Park in Newcastle and Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
The first thing that shoots out when considering the other locations is that two of them are the home venues of teams that would play at the event. Following promotion last year, both Bradford Bulls and York City Knights will be among the 14 teams to feature, and with that, it brings some issues. Most obviously, what is supposed to be a neutral location will give one club home advantage. Some clubs may feel uncomfortable with that.
Alternatively, there have been concerns raised about the attendances the Bash has attracted in recent years, so taking the event to a stadium that is the home of a club involved may help that.
The other two locations, Doncaster and Newcastle, are well known to the sport due to Doncaster and Newcastle Thunder’s involvement in League 1. Some have raised the fact that Doncaster is too far away from the nightlife or the town – many people make the weekend a social event, while Newcastle is out of the heartlands and may put more neutral fans off attending.
It may lead you to question why there are calls to move it away from Blackpool, but there have been suggestions the venue isn’t cost-effective, which is why a change might be needed. Only a larger crowd would help that, although with Bradford, York and Widnes all on the card next year, you’d like to think the attendance would go up.
But what do you think? Would you rather see the event move or kept at its current home in Blackpool?
Let us know by voting below.