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Will Chambers takes the field for his 200th NRL game.

The NRL is aiming to for three straight days of near-capacity crowds at Suncorp Stadium after working with broadcast partners Channel Nine and Fox Sports to compress the 2020 Magic Round from four days to three.

Magic Round was billed as another marquee attraction in Tuesday's draw announcement, with the footy festival returning in round eight and running from Friday, May 1 to Sunday, May 3.

The one downside to this year's inaugural event was an underwhelming opening on Thursday night when just over 17,000 fans turned out to watch Cronulla beat the Gold Coast.

The NRL is targeting an overall crowd figure similar to this year's edition across one less day after 134,677 patrons saw 2019's Magic Round event dubbed a success by both the NRL and Queensland government.

"We hope to fill Suncorp Stadium on each of the three days of Magic Round after working with all our key stakeholders and receiving feedback from fans," NRL chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo said.

2020 NRL draw announcement

"Looking at a number of factors, the Monday after this year's event is a public holiday in Queensland which we hope will encourage fans to travel from within the state, while changing to a three-day format also obviously makes it easier for fans who travel interstate and from overseas to attend without the school night difficulties the Thursday night involves.

"Next year's Magic Round will be bigger on most every scale, with a greater fan precinct and more events right across the city of Brisbane."

The 2020 Magic Round is the last that is contractually locked in under the initial two-year agreement between the NRL and Queensland government, though there is also a two-year extension option to continue the event in 2021 and 2022.

International locations including the US, Hong Kong and Singapore have been touted as future destinations for the event to expand interest in the game.

While the NSW government flagged interest in bringing the event to Sydney during last year's Magic Round, Abdo reaffirmed the NRL's commitment to staying put at Suncorp.

Asked if Magic Round would remain in Brisbane in 2021, Abdo responded: "Yes. The options are there for both parties to decide if the event is working.

"At this stage there is certainly enough positive feedback, and potential for growth and to do better, for that to continue."

Cronulla will once again kick off Magic Round as the 6pm Friday game against the Tigers, while Brisbane's clash with Manly afterwards should ensure a strong home crowd turnout for the event's first day.

Both Channel Nine and Fox Sports came to the party across 12 months of negotiation around the condensed format, with Nine relinquishing its exclusive Thursday night slot and in turn picking up the 7.45 Roosters-Cowboys clash, which otherwise would have been broadcast exclusively by Fox.

Wests Tigers celebrate a try.
Wests Tigers celebrate a try. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"Both broadcast partners have sacrificed something for this to happen, for fans to benefit, which we're very thankful for," Abdo said.

"They also each gain something out of the new arrangement, with Nine broadcasting on Saturday and Fox able to cover all eight games across the weekend.

"Overall Magic Round is an occasion that is overwhelmingly positive for rugby league, I think all stakeholders are seeing that and contributing to it in a positive way, and we'll keep working to keep it that way."

With all 16 clubs and their entire playing groups, key stakeholders and CEOs from across the game descending on Brisbane in the first week of May, the now-free Thursday night has been earmarked for summit meetings.

As was the case in 2019, clubs that move home games to Suncorp Stadium are commercial partners in the event and receive a number of opportunities to grow their commercial revenues.

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