NEWCASTLE wants to keep hold of Super League’s Magic Weekend – but faces competition from at home and abroad.
For SunSport understands a European city has registered an interest in hosting the annual two-day showpiece.
It is also set to move earlier in the calendar after being moved to the weekend so fans could be allowed in after the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Just over 60,000 people attended on Saturday and Sunday as Magic Weekend returned to Newcastle after a three-year absence.
That was in line with expectations and, crucially, it did make a profit.
However, even though the north-east city’s council and Newcastle United football club want to keep it at St James’ Park in 2022, one other UK city is in the running.
And a major hub outside these shores has also thrown its hat into the ring.
Discussions are about to start after this year’s edition was held and the Toon is popular with both fans and players.
The setting is also thought to have added even more to the epic golden point tie between St Helens and Catalans Dragons, which witnessed the Dragons’ comeback from 30-12 down in the final three minutes.
SunSport understands Paris table a full proposal to take Magic Weekend there but that was before the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
It is also believed Dublin and Barcelona have been discussed, but not at any serious level.
The date is also set to change, even though holding Magic as the third last round of fixtures added more importance to matches like Leeds v Hull.
However, moving the Challenge Cup final to May has scuppered a return to its traditional slot because of pressure of fans’ pockets with two showpieces so close together.
Instead, a date in late June or early July is more likely with bosses keen to avoid school summer holidays as many supporters take family breaks.