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29 March 2011 - 4:08pm | posted by | 0 comments

Anyone for netball?

I wanted to share this with you here on The Drum, it’s a blog from a colleague after he attended his first professional Netball game:

Sunday was my first experience of watching top-flight (or indeed any) netball; as I witnessed Leeds Carnegie lose to Surrey Storm in the Superleague clash at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Immediately I was impressed by the pace of the game and the athleticism of the players.

Surrey got of to a blistering start and moved the ball around with great speed and accuracy. Very quickly the visiting team built a comfortable lead that Leeds couldn’t close, the game finishing 46 – 61.

On the way home I reflected on what was ultimately an enjoyable match, (not least because of the fair play and respect shown to officials) but something seemed amiss. It was a great game but a bit underwhelming as an experience. So what was missing?

As a novice fan I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on at all times so an MC introducing the players, updating on the score and any tactical changes would have made the game easier to follow. The crowd was pretty quiet too, so some audience interaction would have made for a more fun afternoon. Beyond that, little things like refreshments and half time news or entertainment would have added to the overall fan experience.

Also, Fiat the main sponsor for the Superleague was conspicuous in their absence, with absolutely no branding or activity taking place. Their presence and support would have added to the occasion and more importantly delivered some return for their sponsorship.

Netball is England’s most popular female team sport and is growing rapidly as England Netball (the governing body) continues to develop innovative programmes to welcome more women and girls into the sport. You can’t help thinking that with some effective marketing and promotion, the future of the sport (on all levels) could be very healthy indeed. I know I’ll be keeping my eye on Leeds’ results for the rest of the season.

James Tabberer

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