Murrayfield Magic: What next

Just how successful was the Magic Weekend at Murrayfield?

The overall attendance was just a touch below 60,000, a relatively decent amount for seven games of Super League. But had those games been played at their usual venues, the likelihood is that the overall attendance would have been more like 75,000.

And how many people have been counted twice in that 60,000 figure? At a guess, a fair few will have attended both games in Edinburgh.

There have already been calls to scrap the event, which is turning in to the RFL’s expansion tool, with the news that after the apparent success of the Magic Weekend that a Scotland based Super League franchise is on the horizon.

But how much of a bearing does the weekend have on deciphering how successful a local franchise would be? Has the Cardiff weekend had that much of an impact on the progress of Celtic Crusaders? It would be interesting to see just how many fans are regulars at Brewery Field on the back of attending the Magic Weekend in either 2007 or 2008.

Celtic find themselves struggling at the foot of Super League, without a win, having been fast tracked from National League 2 in 2006 to the top flight for the start of the 2009 season. Their success or failure will be the blueprint for any other expansion sides. It’s far too early to judge which way they will end up, but they may soon be joined by a Scottish counterpart if the noises coming out of this weekend are anything to go by.

Figures suggest around 6,000 people based in Scotland attended Murrayfield over the weekend, and with the Scottish rugby union team hardly knocking down many doors at the moment (somewhat contrasting to their Welsh counterparts), maybe it is the time for rugby league to grow in the land of haggis and bagpipes.

The Magic Weekend will return north of the border for a second instalment next year, and a Scotland-based National League sure is bound to follow in the not too distant future, with a definite on eye on the 2015 licence applications.

There’s no doubting that the idea is a good one – seven top class rugby league games to try and sell the sport – but is it doing enough to bring new fans to the game? Will fans who attend this Super League weekend go and follow a local team in the National Leagues the week after, or is the draw of the Burrows, Longs, Pryces and Cunninghams of this world that is attracting them to a one-off weekend of the greatest game?

Having cracked Wales (supposedly) and Scotland already in the bag (apparently), where will the weekend head to next?

Barcelona’s (reportedly) nice at this time of year…

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