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2nd June 2018, 09:00 | steve_mascord

WE GOT ISSUES: Challenge Cup double-header

WE GOT ISSUES: Challenge Cup double-header

By Steve Mascord

SO that question’s answered.

Two columns ago, We Got Issues asked how we could spread some Magic (note the capital M) over other events without diluting Magic Weekend itself. 

Oh how we waffled. Nines events involving NRL teams, indoor, outdoor, America, Europe. We even repeated the idea that an entire round of the Challenge Cup may be played in Newcastle.


Why take the Challenge Cup to Magic when you can take the Magic to the Challenge Cup? The RFL has announced that both Challenge Cup semis will be played on the same day at the same ground - Bolton’s Macron Stadium on August 5.

Genius.

Some people don’t like double-headers, particularly for big games such as the 2013 World Cup semi-finals. The argument is that prestige events should be able to stand their own two (or is that 68?) feet.

But sometimes pragmatism has to come into play. The Cup semis are at neutral venues anyway and it’s a bit hit-and-miss, getting fans to attend these matches. If aa team from one side of the Pennines plays one from the other, which side should the semi be played and why? There events increasingly seem a little flimsy and seat-of-the-pants.

And as we started off by saying, it’s a perfect way to create a new event - “property” in corporate speak - for the sport in this country. Perhaps in future we’ll have cities bidding for it.

Here’s a question for you: if your team is not involved in either of the semis, what would convince you to go? Whether you live near Bolton? Good ticket prices? Good transport? Entertainment?


Which brings me to another point. 

In Rugby League we have so many bodies negotiating with local authorities over events. That’s how we stage matches now - we calculate how much money it will make for the local economy and then go to the council or government or whatever and ask them to help underwrite it.

But why don’t we make them jump through a few hoops as well - our hoops. Want a World Cup game? See how you go staging Summer Bash next year.

For all I know, that’s exactly what has happened with Bolton. the 2021 World Cup is a separate organisation but maybe contact with the venue was renewed through the bidding process.

If so, more of this please.

Let’s hope we see the full rainbow of jerseys in Bolton; the area around the stadium has got a lot more in common with Newcastle in terms of entertainment than it did last time we had a big event there.