Net profit: What can this summer’s Netball World Cup offer pubs?

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Roses are red: England hope to lift the Netball World Cup on home soil (image: Getty)
Roses are red: England hope to lift the Netball World Cup on home soil (image: Getty)
Following a watershed year for the sport, is it time for pub operators to court netball fans?

Fixtures from 8 July to 22 July

Monday 1 July – Sunday 14 July​ – Tennis - Wimbledon Championships - BBC

Saturday 6 July – Sunday 28 July​ – Tour de France – Eurosport

Tuesday 9 July

Cricket World Cup - New Zealand v India – Sky Sports

Wednesday 10 July

Women’s Rugby Super Series – England v France – Sky Sports

Thursday 11 July

Cricket World Cup - Australia v England – Sky Sports

Betfred Super League – Hull FC v London Broncos – Sky Sports

Friday 12 July

Netball World Cup - England v Uganda – Sky Sports

Netball World Cup - Scotland v Samoa – Sky Sports

Saturday 13 July – Sunday 14 July​ - Rolex British Grand Prix – Sky Sports

Saturday 13 July

Netball World Cup – England v Scotland – Sky Sports

Heavyweight boxing – Daniel Dubois v Nathan Gorman – BT Sport

Sunday 14 July

Cricket World Cup – Final – Sky Sports

Women’s Rugby Super Series – New Zealand v England – Sky Sports

Netball World Cup - England v Samoa – Sky Sports

Netball World Cup - Scotland v Uganda – Sky Sports

Thursday 18 July – Sunday 21 July​ - Women’s Cricket Test Match – England v Australia – Sky Sports

Thursday 18 July – Sunday 21 July​ - Golf - 148th Open Championship – Sky Sports

Thursday 18 July

Betfred Super League – Wigan Warriors v Wakefield Trinity – Sky Sports

Friday 19 July

Vitality Blast Cricket – Hampshire v Sussex Sharks – Sky Sports

Saturday 20 July

Vitality Blast Cricket – Kent Spitfires v Somerset – Sky Sports

Rugby Championship – South Africa v Australia – Sky Sports

Last year was a breakout 12 months for netball. It saw England snatch a last-gasp Commonwealth gold medal in April with a 52-51 win over hosts Australia in front of a televised audience of 1.8m – reaching more than 2m people on social media in the process.

This unprecedented spectacle was followed up by the Roses scooping the Team of the Year and Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year prizes at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

What’s more, during the course of the year, 130,000 people started playing the game, tens of thousands of tickets were sold for the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool and, off the back of Sky Sports’ coverage of England’s domestic league, netball’s in-home viewing figures increased by 117%.

While admittedly screening the netball is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the plethora of challenges pubs face in driving footfall, is committing 10 days to covering this summer’s World Cup more of a hospital pass or route to net gains for sport focused operators?

New and existing customers

“Netball is a real growth opportunity for pubs,” according to Sky’s director of marketing, Tracy Harrison. “There’s already interest in watching the sport in a pub or bar.

“For example, at the start of the year, 348,000 people watched the international netball match between Australia and England in a pub or bar, so venues might want to consider how they can use the tournament to attract new and existing customers.”

According to Sky Sports – which has shown every game in netball’s Superleague this season – in-home viewing features in 2019 are up by 68%.

As one of the favourites to lift the World Cup this summer, Tracey Neville’s team is hoping to capture the public imagination in the same way the England men’s football team did in Russia last year or that the Lionesses, under Tracey’s brother Phil, have done at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

The latter has seen fans eschew the living room in favour of the licensed trade in their droves with latest figures from MatchPint suggesting that games featuring the Lionesses at the World Cup are averaging the same number of searches as a Premier League clash between a top six side and a non-top six club – for example Manchester City v Wolves.

“With the World Cup being hosted in Liverpool from 12 to 21 July, and every game shown on Sky, there’s a good chance that the nation could be swept up in the excitement of the tournament if England team perform well,” Harrison added. “With a Commonwealth gold medal in their pockets, every team will be keen to target England.”

The rise of women’s sport

In a report titled The Rise of Women’s Sports​ published in 2018, global measurement and data analytics company Nielsen found:

  • Two thirds of the population are interested in at least one women’s sport
  • 84% of general sports fans are interested in women’s sport
  • More than half (51%) of women’s sport fans are male
  • 36% of fans surveyed describe women’s sport as inspiring, compared to 26% for men’s sport
  • Almost twice as many fans described women’s sport as being family orientated or progressive
  • Fewer than one in ten (7%) of fans surveyed considered women’s sport as being money driven, compared to 39% for men’s sport

Source: Nielsen Sports

Momentum in women’s sport

According to Keith Treggiden, general manager of Rendezvous in Weymouth, Dorset – the 2017 winner of the best live entertainment category at the Great British Pub Awards and a finalist in 2018 – the on-trade success surrounding England’s women this summer is a strong indicator that pubs should embrace the Netball World Cup.

“Demand for women’s sport has gone through the roof for us this year,” he explained.

“We’ve had more requests than ever from people wanting to watch games on TV and that’s had a real impact on footfall.

“We had an incredible turn out for the Women’s Football World Cup and as a result we will be showing the Netball World Cup for the ­first time ever this year.

“As soon as we announced it, the response from customers was fantastic, we’ve had lots of people coming in to book tables to watch it.

“As well as promoting it on our website and via social channels, we approached local netball teams to let them know we would be showing it, so we should have a really good turnout.”

What’s more, Stonegate Pub Company – the operator of Walkabout bars, which managed to drive footfall on typically unpopular evenings during the working week by committing to showing Monday night netball – puts using the momentum behind women’s sport at the heart of its strategy to make its estate of pubs “more synonymous with sport”.

“Supporting women plays a key role within that,” a spokesperson from Stonegate explained, “as does broadening the range of sports we showcase within our venues.

“From investment in technology and live streaming to significant marketing spend and enhanced customer experiences, it’s no wonder feedback for our programme is fantastic.

“It’s positive news here at Stonegate too with the Walkabout format seeing a 20% uplift across the estate thanks to the football quarter ­final.

“We can also see that, where we have focused on putting women’s football at the forefront of our service by delivering the full live sport experience, increased footfall figures follow.”

Driving dwell time and footfall

Matthew McInerney of Barratts in Northampton – a ­finalist in the sports category in the 2018 Great British Pub Awards – explains that this summer’s netball offers a particularly unique opportunity for pubs to drive both customer footfall and dwell time. The primetime TV-friendly ­fixtures and hectic schedule of summer sport allow venues like Barratts to use back-to-back fixtures across multiple sports to create an all-day experience.

“At Barratts, we are a big fan of women’s sports – always showing it on our screens and supporting local women’s teams across many sports,” he explained.

“We are currently enjoying a good Women’s World Cup and are very much looking forward to this year’s Netball World Cup.

“Having the tournament based in the UK is a massive plus and provides great viewing times, in particular for England, picking up some primetime slots – 3pm on Saturday versus Scotland has worked out perfectly for fans and gives us a great opportunity to maximise sales in our venue. Our netball team – Barratts Hotshots – is already reserving tables for England matches, and we can’t wait for the tournament to start.

“As investment grows in women’s sports, we have no doubt interest will follow and we can see its current success in our venue only growing, and we are proud to say that we have played our part leading the charge in showcasing women’s sports on our screens from the early years.

“There’s also a host of other sports around the time of the Netball World Cup including the final and semi-­final of the Cricket World Cup, the British Grand Prix and The Open plus action from the Women’s Ashes, so there’s a variety of sport to keep customers in for longer.

“Showing live sport is key for driving footfall, revenue and dwell time, while offering a wide choice helps appeal to more fans.”

The lowdown: Vitality Netball World Cup

  • Dates:​ 12-21 July
  • TV channel:​ Sky Sports
  • Host city:​ Liverpool
  • Number of teams:​ 16
  • Format:Phase one – 12-14 July​ – is a group stage comprising four groups of four teams – both England and Scotland have been drawn together in group D alongside Uganda and Samoa.The second phase – 15-18 July​ – sees teams regrouped based on first round performance and another set of round robin fixtures. Based on points scored in phases one and two, the final stage – 19-21 July​ involves a series of positional play-o‑ s and a final in order to rank the teams from first to 16th and sparing participants the indignity of an early flight home.
Netball
  • Favourites (odds by William Hill):​ Australia 11/10, England 2/1, Jamaica 5/1, New Zealand 8/1, South Africa 25/1, Malawi 50/1, Uganda 200/1, Northern Ireland 500/1, Scotland 500/1

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