Why Super League’s Magic Weekend should be kept not scrapped by IMG

SINCE IMG signed a 12-year deal to be shareholders of rugby league, all sorts of recommendations have been put forward towards the media and marketing company.

However, one change which IMG will implement from 2024 is the scrapping of the Magic Weekend, despite its popularity with fans across the Super League.

The proposal, along with scrapping the controversial loop fixtures, is a way of making the domestic schedule shorter in order to produce the space necessary for an international break.

With the Magic Weekend, however, we are talking about one game; a festival of rugby league that fans from all clubs can enjoy over one weekend.

The home of Newcastle United – St James’ Park – has hosted the Magic Weekend concept six times, with 2023 being the seventh time the football stadium will be used.

Pushing the Challenge Cup Final back to its traditional slot in May – when the Magic Weekend is usually on – was also a way by IMG of getting more fans to head to Wembley.

The new rugby league shareholders believe that people are deciding whether to go to the Magic Weekend or the Challenge Cup Final, and, in that regard, getting rid of the former should encourage more people to go to the latter.

However, Super League and rugby league fans have shown their love and passion for the Magic Weekend since the concept began, with Newcastle particularly popular with the populace.

Scrapping the event isn’t likely to fill the Wembley Stadium any more so than it already is being doing. The fact of the matter is, the Challenge Cup needs a complete overhaul whilst the Magic Weekend is a concept that the majority of fans support.

Getting rid of the event seemingly puzzled a number of the rugby league fraternity. Their argument – ‘well at least we get to see our team play on a big stage.’

Not every fan will ever get the chance of doing so at Wembley or Old Trafford. Limiting the ‘big events’ to just two instead of the three doesn’t make that much sense when considering that the majority of supporters will steer away from the Challenge Cup Final if their team doesn’t get there.

The idea that one less game will also create more space for an international break does not really make sense considering if the loop fixtures are scrapped then that will create the space needed.