Biggest and best netball open day

The Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 inspired thousands to take to the court on the Biggest Netball Open Day.

As hosts of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, there was a buzz around the sport all over the country. Following on from the Commonwealth Games, hosting the sport’s pinnacle event in Liverpool gave us a chance to show how much England loves netball, and England Netball’s Biggest Summer of Netball initiative proved it.

We’d already heard that the Vitality Roses inspired more than 130,000 people to start playing netball or more netball as a result of the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Anticipating a similar amount of excitement and buzz around netball after the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, which ran from 12- 21 July, netball courts all over the country were opened up free the day after the World Cup, so that those inspired by it could take to a court.

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And the predictions were correct! On the final day of the World Cup, visits to the session finder on England Netball’s website went up by 1,000 per cent. On 22 July 2019, more than 200 netball sessions were hosted across the country as part of our Biggest Summer of Netball initiative, which aimed to get more women and girls active and playing netball, and more than 500 sessions ran in the week following the World Cup.

“What an amazing celebration of netball we had at the Biggest Netball Open Day session!” said Cornwall NDO Fern Noott, who hosted a free session in Falmouth, which was the highest-attended session in the county on record. “It’s fair to say the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 and the Vitality Roses inspired the nation!”

And the statistics back that up too. A record-breaking 112,000 tickets were purchased for the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, with all England games sold out – and according to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of England Netball, more than six million Brits saying they ‘followed or attended’ the event!

With the Commonwealth Games encouraging 130,000 people to start playing netball or more netball, the Biggest Summer of Netball brought an opportunity to better that. Using YouGov survey data, we calculated that a staggering 160,000 adult women who followed the tournament were inspired by the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 to start playing netball or more netball.

Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, said: “I still get goose bumps when I think back to the Vitality Netball World Cup,” adding that this is only the beginning when it comes to inspiring players to return to or continue playing netball. “We are excited that the next major tournament, the 2022 Commonwealth Games, will be on home soil so that will be another fantastic opportunity to show our sport on a global stage again.”

While the Covid pandemic may have taken us off the courts for a little while, our love for netball hasn’t gone anywhere! We’re all looking forward to getting back on court when it’s safe to do so, and can’t wait to share our passion for the sport with all our netball friends too.

“Our fans all seem to be missing the sport as much as I am, so I’m hopeful that when the sport can return at its fullest that we’ll be back bigger and stronger than before,” says Fran. “There is still more on the horizon to look forward to and we can’t wait to get everyone back on court soon.”

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Written by Lucy Higgins

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