Newcastle celebrates European Rugby success

Monday 13 May 2019 Written by: Adam

Newcastle is celebrating after hosting a massively successful finals weekend for the biggest tournament in European Rugby.

Fans from across the world flocked to Newcastle for the European Rugby Challenge and Heineken Champions Cup finals which took place on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May at St James’ Park.

The 2019 Finals Weekend was delivered by a host of partners, including tournament governing body European Professional Club Rugby Ltd (ECPR) who selected Newcastle to host the prestigious event.

A partnership between Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle Falcons and Newcastle United FC came together to deliver the event, working alongside other partners such as Northumbria Police and NE1.

To help create a carnival atmosphere the Champions Fan Village was created on the Quayside along with a food, drink and craft market running along Blackett Street and Spectator Plaza outside the stadium.

The two matches played out in front of packed crowds in St James’ Park with a UK record 28,438 watching Clermont Auvergne triumph over La Rochelle during Friday’s Challenge Cup final.

A full house 0f 51,930 packed St James’ Park to see heavyweight teams Saracens and Leinster Rugby battle over the Heineken Champions Cup, the most prestigious tournament in club rugby.

Saracens, a team featuring a core of England stars including captain Owen Farrell, won the intense battle 20 – 10, coming back from the 10-point deficit in the second half scoring a try in front of a passionate Gallowgate End crowd.

Event director Mick Hogan said: “Once again Newcastle has delivered an incredible rugby event played out to a worldwide audience.

“The feedback from supporters, broadcasters, EPCR, the four teams and the local residents has been unbelievably positive.

“It took over two years planning but this has been the biggest rugby event that the city has seen. Over 60,000 people enjoyed our Champions Rugby Village on the quayside and the incredible carnival atmosphere across the city.

“The Heineken Champions Cup Final was the fastest-selling tournament further bolstering the city’s reputation as a world-class sporting destination.

“From the Trophies Tour supported by Go North East, to the tournament app and the 80,000 plus supporters who attended it has been an unprecedented success.”


– Over 100,000 fans and visitors
– Fastest-selling Heineken Champions Cup Final ever
– Highest European Rugby Challenge Cup Final attendance in the UK
– A record number of 60,000 fans attending the Champions Rugby Village
– Newcastle Airport put on an extra 62 flights and extra 7,500 people using the airport
– Over £35m generated from the weekend alone as a welcome boost to the local economy**
– Hotel occupancy was at 97% over the Friday and Saturday, with 90% over the entire weekend from Thursday – Sunday
– Over 2.1 million people interacted with Social Media posts about the event over the weekend (figure from Newcastle City Council posts)

** Estimate. A detailed economic impact study to follow

Newcastle 2019 is a partnership between Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Newcastle United FC.