Netball Australia has today announced an independent review to holistically consider the State of the Game in order to reset the sport’s strategy following the impact of COVID-19.
The review, to be headed by former Australian captain Liz Ellis, will canvas the views and experiences of the wide range of customer and stakeholder groups from across the netball nation, inviting diverse and bold thinking to ensure the ongoing sustainability, prosperity and relevance of the game.
Ellis will be joined on the panel by an accomplished group of leaders from across different industries, all sharing a common belief in the power of netball to enrich communities. The three other panel members are Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, experienced non-executive director and former MP Wendy Machin and experienced non-executive director, CEO, CMO and media executive Joe Pollard.
In the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, Suncorp Super Netball was delayed, community netball was suspended, Netball Australia furloughed half its workforce and Suncorp Super Netball athletes accepted a reduction in their player payments for 2020.
Netball Australia CEO Marne Fechner said the consultation aspect of the review will be the most significant in the sport’s history and for good reason.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the netball ecosystem and comes at a time when the competition to own the hearts and minds of women in sport is at an all-time high,” she said.
“Without action, parts of netball will encounter considerable financial uncertainty. So, faced with this reality, the sport will take steps to ensure its not only future proofed, but that our strategy leading into 2027, our centenary, is designed to strengthen the entire netball community,” she said.
“Across the next two months our aim is to capture the voices and experiences of our entire Australian netball family at a scale that hasn’t been done before. We want to listen to their stories and understand what makes the sport great and where we can do better. Most importantly, we want to capture a collective ambition for our game and, in doing so, shape our future.”
The Review’s terms of reference will see the panel consider:
- Netball’s value proposition and critical pain points.
- The alignment between customer and stakeholder insight and the sport’s purpose, vision and strategy.
- The culture of Netball in Australia.
- The financial, delivery and commercial model of netball in Australia.
- The optimal future governance structure of netball (Netball Australia, Member Organisations, associations, clubs, Suncorp Super Netball and Suncorp Super Netball clubs).
- The roles of each entity in the netball ecosystem.
- Any other matter that would best serve netball in Australia.
Panel Chair Liz Ellis said the State of the Game Review will provide a listening post at a critical juncture of the sport and help build strong, innovative strategies leading to 2027 when the sport hopes to host the Netball World Cup.
“Netball is the preeminent sport of choice for Australian women and girls, but like all sports, netball has experienced significant financial pressure across the system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
“This review is an opportunity, not only to capture the pulse of the netball nation, but to understand what’s most important to people that love netball – from elite through to grassroots, social, mixed and men’s netball. It’s also a chance to also understand what our commercial partners see as the future of our business.
“We need to ensure the sport has a contemporary strategy and structure. This is a unique opportunity for the sport to reimagine and if necessary, reshape relevant features to ensure we can all bounce back stronger together.”
It is estimated the review panel will provide recommendations to Netball Australia by the end of September 2020.
Netball Australia is inviting all netball fans, participants, volunteers, anyone involved in the sport to provide input into this review. Go to netball.com.au/stateofthegame to find out how you can provide feedback.