Elland Road, home of Championship football club Leeds United, will host rugby league’s Magic Weekend for the first time next year.
The event, which sees an entire round of Super League fixtures take place at one venue over two days, will take place on August 17-18. Elland Road will become the sixth venue to host the Magic Weekend since the concept was launched in 2007.
Seven of the last eight Magic Weekends have been held at St. James’ Park, home of Premier League club Newcastle United. The exception was in 2019, when Liverpool’s Anfield stadium hosted.
Prior to that, the event was held at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, and Murrayfield in Edinburgh. Rugby League Live has reported that Newcastle was viewed as the first choice to host again in 2024, but no agreement could be reached due to logistical issues.
From next year, the Challenge Cup final will take place in June, two months earlier than its traditional slot of August. The Magic Weekend has subsequently been pushed back to mid-August, but this will coincide with the start of the Premier League season, which would make it difficult for Newcastle to host.
Elland Road has staged rugby league in the past, most recently in 2022 when it hosted the World Cup semi-final between Australia and New Zealand. Kick-off times for next year’s Magic Weekend will be confirmed when tickets go on sale next month.
Rhodri Jones, managing director of RL Commercial, said: “Magic Weekend is going to have a different feel in 2024, as a result of the return to a date later in the summer to move away from the Betfred Challenge Cup final in June, and the non-availability of St. James’ Park which has proved such a popular venue for the last three years.
“We are delighted to have agreed a deal with Leeds United FC to stage Magic Weekend at Elland Road, one of the biggest and best stadia in the north of England – and with a rich rugby league history, having staged numerous big matches from the 1982 Challenge Cup Final replay to the World Cup semi-final between Australia and New Zealand last year.
“The fixtures formula we have used for Magic since 2019, which involves seeding teams into three groups of four based on their 2023 performance, has produced an intriguing line-up of matches, and with all clubs offering special pricing for Magic as part of their season tickets package, we would encourage fans to move quickly when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”
Angus Kinnear, chief executive of Leeds United, added: “Over recent years we have held some fantastic events at Elland Road, with some of the biggest games in rugby league including the World Cup semi-final in 2022, along with England men’s and women’s international football fixtures and Josh Warrington’s world title boxing fight.
“We are thrilled to be adding the 2024 Magic Weekend to that list, it is great for us as a club and will also bring economic benefits to the whole city of Leeds. Everyone knows what a special venue Elland Road is and we’re all looking forward to another great spectacle.”