Struggling with reported debt and a loss of around $11 million, Australia’s netball league could turn to more non-sporting business opportunities, including starting to accept gambling advertisements and sponsorships.
Bad finances rise, gambling ads could help
It has been six years since the split of the Trans-Tasman Netball League, aka the ANZ Championship, which gave birth to Netball Australia (NA) and Netball New Zealand. The Australian Netball Championships are now live, with the Super Netball Finals underway. However, on Friday, General Manager Kelly Ryan released a statement, viewable on the official NA website, stating that they are “not on the brink of financial ruin”, addressing reports of rising debt and the lack of sufficient cash. To calm the waters a bit, in the same statement, Ryan assured everyone that they “know what is needed to protect the future of Netball Australia”.
Apparently, the action plans don’t rule out “gaming sponsorships,” which Ryan says are “very big and very lucrative in sports,” when considering the possibility. It may not have been the very first choice, however, as Ryan told the ABC that “Netball has to get a little bit more out of their comfort zone,” commenting on the opportunity. Ryan seems to be realistic about this whole ordeal, knowing full well that the money has to come from somewhere, saying that “We just have to focus on the fact that it’s a business asset, that netball is a business enterprise. , and we need to start thinking with that mindset so that we can change the way it was tracked,” indicating that we are ready to implement “other business opportunities as well.”
And the way NA has tracked it isn’t very positive, with News Corp reporting a loss of $7.2 million over the past two years, with bank loans totaling around $4 million. Last year’s season was cited by the Guardian as having lost around $4.4 million, but at the time the pandemic was the answer to most questions. Ryan ended his news announcement on a positive note, reiterating that netball “has a bright future.”
The Fork 2016 – Good Idea, Bad Execution
The 2016 decision to separate the Australian and New Zealand netball teams seemed logical at the time. Of the 24 games in competition that year, 17 were wins for Australia, meaning Australian talent could actually benefit from the decision. Indeed, the Suncorp Super Netball Championship is probably home to the best players in the world, and the improvement of the entire league at this level might not have been possible without the 2016 fork. However, as good as the sport is changing on the ground, being plagued by these financial problems signals that an equivalent change has yet to materialize.
The decision to part ways was announced before any news about new broadcast deals for Australia, and even though Channel Nine’s was making headlines, it was actually substituting financial security for advertising and sponsorships. However, as Ryan puts it, “women’s sports don’t attract the sponsorship dollar value that some of our male counterpart sports do,” further asserting the possibility of gambling ads becoming a reality. So, in the end, it looks like a lack of preparation and insufficient planning were bound to return to the league at some point. And, it came back, with the reported loss and debt soaring to $11 million, as we mentioned, putting the league in dire financial straits.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only bad news surrounding Australian netball. In early June, it was announced that the sports organization was selling the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball hosting rights to the highest bidder, which turned out to be Perth, for $300,000 in cash and $350,000 in consideration. However, the participating athletes were never consulted on this decision, which sparked dissent from the players. And it wasn’t the first time players across the league were caught off guard, with the 2020 introduction of the super two-point shot, when it was done the same way – without consulting players or players. clubs and on short notice.