Imagine this: its June of 2020 and Team GB are in the final of the first ever Olympic netball event. They beat a strong Australia side in the semis, and under head coach Tamsin Greenway are heading for gold. Captain Amanda Davis of Surrey Storm leads the side out, having narrowly missed out on the Superleague final back home that season.
It was Yorkshire Jets in fact that took their third title in 2020 with the help of multi-million pound signing Stacey Peeters from New Zealand. The now fully professional league boasts 20 top sides, with a SKY tv deal worth making it one of the biggest events on the UK sporting calendar. Replica kits of the top sides sell out at cup finals and newspapers print pull-out fixture lists with expert analysis on every game.
Meanwhile the Team GB side, wearing a new netball kit in an Addidas deal worth £200 million, celebrate taking silver. They are disappointed to finish second, but were always underdogs against the always excellent USA netball team.
A little far-fetched? perhaps. But the signs are certainly promising. while it is unlikely to see netball become such a high profile and globally promoted sport in the near future, plans are underway to raise the sport to the levels of other predominantly men’s games, and is gaining increasing new followers every day.
Campaigns to see netball in the Olympics, raise its media coverage and create a professional British league have all been attempted, and being the largest participation sport in the UK it is always likely to receive funding and support where needed. It may be slower and more gradual that many would wish, but in terms of the netball’s global appeal, it is certainly on the up!