03 Feb Brand Extension is working for Rugby Teams entering Netball
When a sports team regularly tops the top of their league and manages to build the kind of brand loyalty that non-sports brands can only dream of, then what’s left to conquer? Rugby has decided that Netball is the right direction for a brand extension at the right investment levels.
From May 2018 through to May 2019, the Sport England Active Lives Survey showed a big takeup of Netball with 50,200 more adults playing the sport than before, and all against a background of static growth across sport in general. Outside of the UK, there is more of a mixed-gender takeup of Netball with reportedly over 20 million people playing Netball worldwide across over 80 countries.
As of 2019, there are now over 320,000 regular netball players in England and the numbers keep on growing, partly due to national successes at the Commonwealth Games and the talk of Netball making it into the Olympic Games (having been approved in 1995), but a lot of the success can be attributed to the development of the Superleague, some close alignment with sponsors and commercial programmes, and the brand extensions leaking in from other sporting bodies.
The time is ripe for Netball to accelerate its growth even further and capitalise on its relatively low commercial pricing to deliver targeted engagement in high emotion moments – it’s a brand sponsor’s dream if the audiences and objectives align.
Netball has worked on its own brand extensions in terms of Fast5, Walking Netball, Nets, and the growth of the Superleague in terms of teams, viewers, and broadcast audiences.
The health insurance brand Vitality have leveraged sponsorship to deliver positive value for money as the Official Wellness Partner of the England Netball team, as well as the title sponsor of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019, Vitality Netball Superleague and Vitality Netball International Series. They’ve also committed to the grassroots of the sport by partnering with England Netball’s Back To Netball programme.
In 2016, Wasps ventured out of being known primarily for their rugby as they took up one of the three new franchises in the Netball Superleague joining the Sirens and the Severn Stars.
The Saracens increased their investment in their women’s’ rugby team and then decided that Netball was the next area of development, investing and teaming up with the Mavericks.
The latest sports team to go for the brand extension is Leeds Rhinos; In just two years, Leeds Rhino’s Netball has self-financed their way from creation to gain a franchise in the Superleague and are excitedly awaiting their chance to perform both on the court and in terms of reach and commercial opportunities.
The cross-pollination between sporting codes allows for teams with established fanbases to complement their existing fan offer and add opportunities for live entertainment, fixtures, and additional online engagement at different price points and use that existing goodwill and fan infrastructure to maximise benefits all round.
It’s easier to build support for your netball franchise when you have the brand awareness of an existing rugby club and all of the support staff and ingrained experience available to fast-track the learnings for the Netball brand extension.
To hear more about the growth in opportunity within Women’s Sports – it’s worth attending Reg&Co.’s health and Wellbeing event in Glasgow on 30th May. For more information about commercial opportunities in Netball, contact Stuart Richmond.