The Liverpool Vitality Netball World Cup
I watched The Roses (England Netball) thrash Samoa 90-24 in style at the weekend.
The girls have worked their socks off to get where they are today. Tracey Neville coached them to Gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games where Helen Housby scored the winning goal in the final second against Australia. This moment was the catalyst that catapulted Netball into the UK lime light.
The Roses now attract some of the most influential sponsors; gone are the days their kit was sponsored by Kukri, today it’s Nike. Big sponsors such as Nike have helped to transform the image of Netball from a cold, playground game into a sport you need to be strong, powerful and athletic for.
Jaffa Fruit, who signed a 2-year partnership deal with England Netball late last year, were by far the most visibly dominant sponsor around the M&S Bank Arena and the newly named Rose Garden Fan Village in Liverpool. Activations included mini Netball games, free oranges, squeezing your own juice from a watt bike and a one-handed orange peeling challenge. Jaffa and England Netball share the same vision of encouraging people of all ages to live more active and healthier lifestyles – they were certainly getting everyone involved in Liverpool.
Other sponsors spotted include Vitality (who are also long-term sponsors of the domestic semi-professional Superleague), Red Bull, Betfred, UK Sport, Sky Sports, and the BBC.
BBC covers all the World Cup games whilst Sky Sports showed weekly Superleague games and saw netballs in-home viewing figures increased by 117% (The Morning Advertiser, 2019).
The Liverpool Vitality Netball World Cup is testament to the growth of the sport in the UK. Tickets are sold out and looking around it’s not only school girls attending anymore.
However, it still has a long way to come before competing with the likes of Football, Rugby and Cricket. Brand sponsors such as Nike and Jaffa are integral contributors to the continuing development of the sport at grassroots level and elite. These partnerships have the ability to drive commercial growth and raise the profile of the sport. And the benefit for the brands, is they can nurture their organic relationships with female sports.
Should more brands be jumping on the Netball band wagon? Yes. Big brands have the reputation and Netball has recently gained the constantly growing global platform. 1.8million people watched the Commonwealth final last year which consequently reached 2million people on social media (England Netball, 2018). I can’t wait to see the figures after The Roses win the Vitality World Cup…