One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Rugby League Magic Weekend Back In The Toon
Rugby League's Magic Weekend is coming back to Newcastle in 2016!
The event will be returning to St James' Park on Saturday May 21 and Sunday May 22, 2016.
Magic Weekend was first held in Newcastle earlier this year when more than 67,000 fans were in attendance across the course of the weekend - the highest ever for the two-day event.
The fixtures for Magic Weekend 2016 have also been revealed, with 2015 First Utility Super League Grand Finalists Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors playing in the final game on Saturday evening. The Rhinos, who defeated the Warriors 22-20 at Old Trafford, will lock horns with Wigan for the fourth successive year at Magic Weekend at 7.00pm on Saturday May 21st.
Treble winning Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said:
"Magic Weekend is a brilliant event and it's great that it's going to be in Newcastle again.
It's a fantastic stadium and there were lots of fans there this year which created a memorable atmosphere. I am particularly pleased for everyone involved in Rugby League in the North East.
I know from personal experience how hard they have worked down the years to promote our game and it is fitting that they get their reward with another Magic Weekend after the success of last year's event. Hopefully it will be even better next year."
Magic Weekend 2015 had a very positive impact on the local economy, with hotel occupancy rates in Newcastle up 25%, bars & restaurants takings up 40% and with an estimated spend of £4.2m in the city across the weekend.
Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd, co-city sponsors of Magic Weekend, said:
"NE1 is proud that alongside Newcastle City Council we've secured Magic Weekend for the 2nd year running and we're bringing the event back to Newcastle.
After hosting a hugely successful Magic Weekend 2015 in May, which saw record breaking attendance of over 67,000, we are delighted the event is returning to Newcastle and we look forward to welcoming the fantastic rugby league fans back to the city in 2016."
All six games from the 2016 Magic Weekend will once again be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Widnes Vikings, who sported a one-off shirt at Magic Weekend this year in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, will kick the event off against Salford Red Devils on the Saturday at 2.30pm.
Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves will square off at 4.45pm before the Grand Final rematch brings the curtain down on an action-packed first day.
Day two begins with Catalans Dragons and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at 1.00pm followed by Huddersfield Giants facing St Helens in the penultimate game of the weekend. Magic Weekend climaxes with one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes - the Hull derby - where the city's bragging rights will be up for grabs between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers.
The 2016 Magic Weekend schedule is as follows:
Saturday May 21st
2.30pm - Salford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings
4.45pm - Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves
7.00pm - Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors
Sunday May 22nd
1.00pm - Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
3.15pm - Huddersfield Giants v St Helens
5.30pm - Hull FC v Hull Kingston Rovers
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