How the Vitality Netball World Cup captured the nation’s hearts and inspired 160,000 women to take to the court
Less than three months ago Liverpool became home to the Vitality Netball World Cup, which saw 16 of the world’s best teams fight to be named world champions across 10 thrilling days of on court action.
The tournament, which concluded with the Vitality Roses; England’s elite netball team, claiming bronze, helped England Netball create a lasting legacy for the sport in the UK and inspired thousands to watch, play and participate in netball.
A record breaking 112,000 tickets were purchased for the Vitality Netball World Cup, with all England games being a complete sell out and 6.07 million Brits saying they ‘followed or attended’ the event according to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of England Netball.
England Netball has calculated, using YouGov survey data, that a staggering 160,000 adult women who followed the tournament were inspired by the Vitality Netball World Cup to start playing netball or more netball.
In addition, England Netball calculates that 20.1 million adults said they were proud that England had hosted the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, and 5.1 million people that followed the event agreed that the Vitality Roses are an inspiration to all girls. Plus, 26.6 million Brits said they would recommend netball to their daughters (real or imagined), this is an increase of 2.5 million people compared with last year.
Netball fans came out in force to support the Vitality Roses during the tournament, not just at the arena but in the Rose Garden; the fan park based in Liverpool ONE. Liverpool City Council estimated that a whopping 44,000 people visited the Rose Garden during the tournament to enjoy its array of activities hosted by a number of England Netball’s partners, such as Vitality, Jaffa, the British Army and Red Bull, as well as to watch the games live on a huge outdoor screen.
After the captivating event came to an end, England Netball noted a 1000% increase in visits to its online netball session finder compared to two weeks prior, over 900 new school registrations for its U11 Bee Netball programme and 71% of clubs saying they had more people showing an interest in playing than before the tournament according to England Netball’s Big Netball Conversation survey.
England Netball’s social media channels also had a surge in followers, with its Instagram seeing a 28% increase in followers throughout the tournament. Plus, the sport received more than 8200 items of coverage, which on average reached 96.4m people and had a value of £18.22m according to England Netball’s media monitoring service.
Joanna Adams, who held the position of CEO of England Netball during the tournament before announcing her departure from the organisation after 10 years, said: “The Vitality Netball World Cup was an absolute whirlwind and a huge success. It was the best sold Netball World Cup to date and we had 9900 people register their interest to volunteer at the tournament, plus extensive press coverage across the 10 days.
“It seemed as though everyone was talking about netball during that time and the buzz around Liverpool was spine-tingling. Whilst the Vitality Roses didn’t get the colour they were gunning for, they truly had the backing of the nation during every game and inspired many to have a go at the sport.
“To see a sea of red and white filling the arena during every England game will be a memory that stays with me forever. To the Netball World Cup team, all the volunteers, athletes, umpires, partners, fans and everyone else who played a part, thank you for making this a phenomenal success and for putting netball in the limelight once again following last year’s gold medal success at the Commonwealth Games.”
Off the back of what was a thrilling summer of women’s sport, in a survey of over 4000 spectators of the event conducted by UK Sport; the Government’s major events agency, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, it was found that 97% of respondents said they felt the Vitality Netball World Cup raised the overall profile of women’s sport in the UK. 61% of those surveyed said they felt happier than normal when attending the event.
Commenting on the research, Simon Morton, COO of UK Sport, which invested National Lottery funding into the event, said: “We believe world class sport has the power to inspire the nation, so it’s wonderful to therefore see that the Vitality Netball World Cup have a meaningful positive impact on a significant number of the fans.
“A major part of our strategy, backed by the Government and National Lottery, is to bring more of the world’s most prestigious sports events to the UK. Sport has a unique opportunity to drive positive change, which has been demonstrated in netball, and we will continue to work in partnership to reap the benefits of hosting major events for the nation.”
Fans will be able to see the Vitality Roses on home soil for the first time since the Vitality Netball World Cup in January 2020 as part of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup, which will see them take on New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica. Tickets can be purchased now via the England Netball website.
Courtesy of England Netball