The 2021 Super League season will be the 26th playing of the competition and it is the leading rugby league event in the United Kingdom. Known as Super League XXVI, it will be the 127th season of rugby league in Great Britain and it is due to begin on the 25th of March. This date is later than the original date published due to the fact the organisers thought pushing the date back might allow some fans to attend the games.
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Toronto Wolfpack were expelled from the competition last season and that opened a single place for one team to enter this season. Six teams applied for the place in Super League and it was awarded to Leigh Centurions despite competition from some Super League greats, including Bradford Bulls and London Broncos.
This season will also see the return of the Magic Weekend and it will take place at St James’ Park in Newcastle. The Magic Weekend is when the whole round of Super League matches is played across one weekend at a single stadium and is great for the fans. However, following an announcement by the competition organisers, all six fixtures for the first round of matches in the 2021 campaign are going to be played at Emerald Headingley, thus creating an additional Magic Weekend.
Leeds Rhinos will host the entire first round of Super League fixtures and although fans enjoy the Magic Weekend, this is not what they wanted from the first round of games. With the possibility of supporters being able to attend matches, fans were hoping to be able to travel to their home stadium to watch their team play but that will not happen.
Not only does it mean fans will be unable to attend a home fixture for their team, but it also takes away the home advantage for the teams due to play in their own stadium on that weekend. Wakefield Trinity were due to meet Leeds in the first round of Super League fixtures but they have lost the home advantage in the derby and will now play Leeds away from home on more than one occasion this season.
The question is, why have Super League taken the decision to hold all six opening day fixtures at the same venue? The answer comes down to live television coverage and Sky Sports. The broadcaster has committed to showing all six of the Super League fixtures live, instead of their usual two fixtures per weekend. It would be extremely costly to show all of the games if they were staged at several venues and playing at one venue makes it easier and more cost-effective. Headingley has enjoyed a recent refurbishment and for presentation purposes, it makes sense but fans are not happy with the decision.