Newcastle’s widely-acclaimed hosting of the European club rugby finals has claimed another notable accolade after winning the Malcolm Dix Trophy for ‘Sporting Success of the Year’ at the Sport Newcastle Awards.
The two-day extravaganza saw European rugby’s elite gathering on Tyneside in May for the finals of the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup, with St James’ Park and the city’s fanzone areas providing a magical backdrop.
Previous winners of the Malcolm Dix Trophy have included Jonny Wilkinson, Steve Harmison, Alan Shearer and Jonathan Edwards to name just a few, with Newcastle 2019 event director Mick Hogan delighted to be among such illustrious company.
He said: “The finals weekend showcased everything that is best about our region, and was only possible because of the tremendously strong partnership between Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle United FC and NE1 Ltd. The local partners worked with tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby Ltd for two years in the build-up to and delivery of the finals.
“It was the fastest-selling Heineken Champions Cup final in the tournament’s history, the biggest UK crowd for a Challenge Cup final and more than 80,000 supporters attended the games.
“The city enjoyed an economic impact of more than £25 million, but more pleasing than that was the feedback received in our survey of more than 2,000 people who attended the weekend.
“The words most commonly used to describe the event were ‘friendly’ and ‘welcoming’, with 56% of those surveyed saying they considered Newcastle to be a ‘rugby city’.
“We are committed to trying to bring more major rugby events to Newcastle, which has already proven to be a successful host for Rugby World Cup 2015, Super League’s Magic Weekend, Newcastle Falcons’ ‘Big One’, England’s Quilter International and the European finals weekend.
“This award is fantastic acknowledgment of the really memorable few days last May which came off the back of many years’ hard work, and I am extremely honoured to accept it on behalf of the many people who made it possible.”