AN entire round of the NRL will be played in Brisbane over one festival-like weekend next year, it has been confirmed.
The ‘Magic Round’ deal will see all 16 NRL teams play at Suncorp Stadium over three action-packed days in May 2019.
With two Friday night games, three on Saturday and another three on Sunday, the historic agreement is tipped to pump millions of dollars into Queensland’s economy.
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NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the Brisbane Magic Round would be a first for the NRL.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our game and create a festival-like occasion for a Premiership Round,” Mr Greenberg said.
“We have seen the success of our double headers in recent seasons but this takes the concept to another level.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said hosting an entire round of the NRL competition would enhance Queensland’s reputation as the ‘home of rugby league’.
“I’m very confident the Magic Round will be the stand-out, marquee event of the 2019 draw,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Securing this new rugby league event was a must for our proud sporting state.
“League fans will see the most exciting weekend of footy right here in Brisbane in the Magic Round, where they will be able to get up close to their sporting heroes at the biggest weekend on the rugby league calendar.”
Mr Greenberg said there were “enormous benefits” to playing a full round in the one location.
“Obviously, there will be significant exposure for such a unique round and it will be a wonderful promotion for all our Clubs,” he said.
“We’re extremely grateful for the support of the Clubs, the Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council, Suncorp Stadium, and our broadcast partners Nine and Fox Sports who have provided unwavering support to ensure this initiative became a reality.
“We’d expect the people of Brisbane to support the festival nature of what will be a wonderful spectacle for Rugby League and their city.
“We’re also extremely confident fans from across the country will attend, with great entertainment planned around Suncorp Stadium as well as the city of Brisbane and Queensland in general.”
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the fact that his city was chosen to host the inaugural Magic Round demonstrated the city’s reputation for staging major events.
“Major events support our local economy and create jobs right across Brisbane, with their economic impact expected to rise to a record $165 million this financial year,” Cr Quirk said.
“Events such as the Battle of Brisbane, the Ashes cricket, the Rugby League World Cup finals and the Bledisloe Cup have helped attract huge numbers of visitors from across Australia and overseas.
“Brisbane will be in the sporting spotlight once again when all 16 NRL teams play a round in the one venue.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Magic Round deal was a great win for Queensland.
“We are solidifying Queensland’s reputation as the major events capital of Australia,” Ms Jones said.
“The Palaszczuk Government has doubled the value of Queensland’s events calendar. This year it’s tipped to be worth $780 million.
“We invest in major events because they drive visitors to our state, create jobs and support our economy.
“Rugby league is in our blood and I’m proud that we’ll host the first ever NRL Magic Round here in Brisbane at the best rectangular stadium in the world.”