Darlington Mowden Park and Rockliffe Hall will play host to an international men’s team during the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, following a successful bid led by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
For the duration of the seven-week tournament, players from the team will stay at the hotel and spa, with training sessions to be carried out at the arena.
It is hoped the event could boost the local economy by up to £8m, attracting tens of thousands of international rugby fans to the area.
The team that will be calling the region their home for the Rugby League World Cup is expected to be announced in December once the draw and results of the qualifying games are known.
Darlington was previously used as a base for the New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby union team during 2015’s Rugby Union World Cup.
Lee Rust, Darlington Mowden Park’s managing director, said: “There has been an enormous amount of work going on behind the scenes over the past five years to position the Darlington Arena as a venue that can attract this kind of occasion.
“Following on from the success of hosting the New Zealand All Blacks during the 2015 Rugby World Cup this will represent another global competition that has chosen Darlington and the Tees Valley. Working with key partners we are again delighted to have the opportunity of bringing world-class sporting activity to our region.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We knew we had a fantastic bid, which was shown when we were chosen to host to part of this contest in February.
“Welcoming an international team to the region is the icing on the cake and is further recognition of our exceptional facilities and venues.
“The players aren’t going to be locked away behind closed doors training for the entire duration of their stay.
“The Rugby League’s been clear that there will be an active programme of engagement, with the team working to promote the game in our local schools and communities, helping us to grow the sport.
“They’ll be here for up to seven weeks, spending time and money in the region and boosting our profile across the world.
“With thousands of fans expected to come from across the globe to follow the action, I’m looking forward to seeing them flood through our airport’s arrivals hall.”
Eamonn Elliott, Rockliffe Hall’s chief executive, said: “Our five star resort has everything required to host a team of this quality and we are experienced at hosting big sporting teams, including The All Blacks and Premier League football clubs.
“Our gym, spa and pool facilities are ideal for top athletes and we’re looking forward to becoming home to even more high-profile teams in the future. This is an exciting time for our region.”
Source: Darlington Mowden Park