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Clubs confirmed for relaunched Netball Super League

Taken during the NSL Season Opener at the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, England on 17th February 2024

Eight successful teams, including six existing Clubs and two new entities, set to propel the League forward from next season following the completion of a tender process.

The Netball Super League (NSL), the UK’s elite level domestic competition, has today announced the Clubs that have been successful in a tender process to participate in the relaunched League from 2025, marking a significant step towards professionalisation.

The eight selected Clubs are:

1. Birmingham Panthers
2. LexisNexis Cardiff Dragons
3. Leeds Rhinos
4. London Mavericks
5. London Pulse
6. Loughborough Lightning
7. Manchester Thunder
8. Nottingham Forest Netball

Following a robust tender process over the past eight months, the eight successful Clubs have been selected due to their ability to deliver the on and off court advancements needed to raise the standards of the League. With powerful new ownership and investment models coming into the League, the new look competition will be built on stronger foundations as it embarks on a ten-year journey to full professionalisation.

Moving from ten to eight Clubs will ensure a greater concentration and dispersion of talent that will deliver a closer, more competitive League with higher quality games and thrilling to the wire action for fans.

For the upcoming season, 50% of games will be played at major arenas across the country, delivering bigger crowds and enhanced match day experiences for fans, whilst all games will be available to watch from home.

Squad sizes will reduce to ten to ensure Clubs are competitive and talented players are distributed. Player salaries will also increase and the League will be introducing a new salary cap and banding structure to ensure that players are remunerated in a more even and transparent way. The average salary will increase by at least 60% with the minimum salary payment more than doubling.

Off the court there will be a significant push to grow the fanbase and reach deep into untapped communities, taking existing fans on an exciting new journey, whilst bringing new fans in to enjoy an exhilarating and engaging new sportainment product.

Claire Nelson, NSL Managing Director said: “This is an incredibly exciting day as we unveil the Clubs which will help to define our League as we enter this new era for our domestic game. Going from ten clubs at present to eight next year will be a case of fewer, bigger, better. We have big plans as a League and believe that we have the right Clubs who can come on this incredible journey with us.

“We must say a huge thank you to all Clubs and interested parties who were involved in the tender process. Clearly, we’ve had to make some really difficult decisions along the way; decisions that were necessary to enable us to create a product that is built to last and one that our fans want to show up to and be a part of now and long into the future. We are proud to stand on the shoulders of all the Clubs that have laid the path before us and we will ensure that we honour their legacy by taking our League and sport to new heights as we move forward into this new era.

“All eyes now are rightly on the end of the existing season which is building into a thrilling showdown ahead of what will be the biggest Grand Final ever. But we have an opportunity here like no other to fuel our growth and strengthen the infrastructure of our sport, so our focus is also on preparing our new Clubs for next season. We are so excited to have completed this first stage of the process and to be working with these fantastic and hugely ambitious Clubs to develop the most competitive, commercially vibrant and captivating League in the world.”

In addition to the six clubs who are currently participating in the League, invitations to participate in the NSL next year were extended to new entities Birmingham Panthers and Nottingham Forest Netball. Birmingham Panthers is excited to bring elite netball to the West Midlands and will work with the University of Worcester to build on the success of Severn Stars to establish netball and its players as a leading force across the region and beyond. An exciting new chapter also awaits the East Midlands with the introduction of Nottingham Forest Netball to the League. Owned and managed by the Premier League football team, this marks the organisation’s inaugural elite level netball Club as part of major plans to develop a multi-sport model for the football club.

Furthermore, there will be a brand-new league to underpin the relaunched NSL which will deliver the next level of elite competition for emerging and returning players as well as coaches and officials. This exciting new layer of enhanced competition will be contested by the newly named teams and will build and develop a greater pool of talent that will fuel the NSL for continued success in the future.

The changes will mean that existing NSL Clubs Severn Stars, Strathclyde Sirens, Surrey Storm and Team Bath will not be part of the League following the conclusion of the 2024 season. The NSL will work with all exiting Clubs to ensure they receive a fitting farewell and are celebrated for the significant impact they have had on the League and the sport as a whole to date.

With such a significant netball participation and fan base in the South and South West of England, and exciting new arenas planned in Bristol in the coming years, England Netball will continue to work closely with Team Bath and Netball South West to explore options for the future, alongside continuing to provide South West athletes with opportunities to compete in the Netball Performance League (NPL) pathway competitions.

England Netball Chief Executive Fran Connolly added: “Today’s announcement signifies a pivotal moment for our sport. Professionalisation is part of our ten-year Adventure Strategy to accelerate the growth of the game in this country, and having now completed the exhaustive tender process we know we have the right Clubs on board to shape an exciting and sustainable future for the League.

“Following the Roses making history by breaking into their first World Cup Final in Cape Town last summer we are experiencing thriving participation figures and record membership numbers, showing that there is incredible momentum behind netball and we are absolutely poised and ready to elevate the sport to new heights. This is without doubt the right time, and the right thing to do for the future of our sport that will help to strengthen every area of the game and inspire generations to come.”

Liz Bloor, Managing Director at the Netball Players Association added: “The announcement of the Clubs who will be part of the NSL from 2025 is a significant and very exciting moment for the sport. As the body representing the players we are delighted that this first step on the road to professionalising the sport and creating real career opportunities has been realised. The NPA has worked with the NSL through the long and detailed planning and tender process to ensure that the players’ voice has been front and centre of the plans.

“The changes in the club roster will inevitably be challenging for some players but we are certain that this is the right move for netball to ensure that there can be significant improvements to the earnings, performance environment and welfare support for players allowing them to thrive within the sport. Building from strong foundations will secure the future growth of the sport.

“The NPA will be working with players to support them through the transition period from the end of the 2024 season to wherever their individual paths take them on and off the court.”

The 2024 NSL season continues, with Round 16 taking place this week followed by Rounds 17 and 18, with the top four teams then progressing to the Semi Finals (22 June 2024) and Grand Final (29 June 2024) at Resorts World Arena.

For more information fans can head to the FAQ page or watch this video where Claire Nelson explains the key changes.

 

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