“Netting” Some New Global Partners

To those fans of basketball, especially in North America, Netball may seem like hoops missing a few pieces with too many players on the court. However the game has passe. its centennial, and is trying to make an aggressive push not just to expand it's fan base, but to also bring the rules into a more modern faster pace that can help push the game forward, similar to what the Indian Premier League has done for cricket. Will it wor.

Here are some of the positives…its coed and has a larger female following than men (especially at younger ages), it has a solid core, it has its core of support among the Commonwealth Countries, it has ample opportunities for signage and sponsorship, and most importantly, it has an organizing body willing to find ways to energize the core of the sport. While the sport will need an education for casual fans outside of the Commonwealth countries, it could be an interesting grassroots entree for brands looking to activate in the UK who cannot afford the large dollars of cricket, rugby or soccer. Netball has a grassroots following already built in, so it does not have to look for a core that is large, an issue that team sports like hockey, basketball or baseball have. The rules are being amended to make it more fast paced, more friendly to TV and to the digital space, and to increase partnerhip opportunities for its elite events.? While many people say that those who understand and have an interest in baseball could convert to cricket, that gap has never been closed and vice versa. Netball's similarity to basketball can give it a stronger chance to suceed with casual fans. While in a challenged economy brands may cut back on large spends, some are still craving new, cost efficien. opportunities, and Netball may just provide such opportunities. The risk vs. reward is very low for a rising brand who can come in and own a fan base interested in team and ball sport and in this economy, ownership is key. Whether the effort “nets” to fans and brands, we shall see.

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