One year ago today, the monumental Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool came to a dramatic close with New Zealand securing the title as world champions, Australia taking home silver and England the bronze medal.
From 12 – 21 July 2019, around 112,196 tickets were purchased for the tournament, which was held for the first time in England since 1995, by fans wanting to see the world’s best netballers compete for the sport’s most prestigious trophy. The Vitality Netball World Cup has the best known Net Promoter Score (customer service experience) recorded to date of any major sporting event in the UK.
The Vitality Roses were welcomed onto court for each game by a sea of screaming fans and following the event, 5.10 million Great British adults agreed that the Vitality Roses are an inspiration to women and girls.
A whopping 6.07 million people attended, watched and/ or followed the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, after which 4.82 million people agreed that the tournament raised the profile of all women’s sport in the UK. Plus, 160,000 Great British women were inspired by it to play netball or more netball.
After a staggering growth in the sport and its profile last year, England Netball enjoyed record ticket sales at events. However, netball came to an abrupt halt in March due to the pandemic, meaning the Vitality Netball Superleague 2020 season was cancelled and the 236,300 adults who were playing netball on a then weekly basis had to step away from the court.
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, is hoping that the momentum created from the Vitality Netball World Cup won’t dwindle because of the pandemic. She said: “I still get goose bumps when I think back to the Vitality Netball World Cup. It was an unforgettable experience, from the jam-packed action on court to the atmosphere at the fan park, it was more than we could have hoped for.
“The Vitality Roses didn’t come away with the colour they were gunning for, but when they secured the bronze medal you could feel that the whole country was behind them and that was a truly great moment for women’s sport. Since then our sport has grown on many levels, from more women playing the game at a grassroots level, record breaking crowds attending the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January and the Vitality Netball Superleague Season Opener in February, to more than 2,000 schools signing up to our U11 programme; Bee Netball.
“It is safe to say we were on an upwards trajectory and had big plans for the future. No one could have anticipated the impact COVID-19 would have and it has been heart breaking to see people have to stop playing, watching and getting involved in the sport. Of course I worry about netball losing momentum, but 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.
“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. So whilst COVID-19 poses a great threat to the immediate growth of all women’s sport, we know that there is still more on the horizon to look forward to and we can’t wait to get everyone back on court soon.”
To see our full Vitality Netball World Cup Legacy Report completed earlier this year click here.
*The stats in this article are from a UK Sport/Sheffield Hallam University Event Impact Evaluation in July 2019 and a YouGov survey of 2000 GB adults conducted in September 2019 on behalf of England Netball.