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Netball Drives Super Engagement

3 minute read | Steve Whately, Director, Nielsen Sports | April 2019

The rate of change for women in sport is one of the most exciting trends in the sports industry right now. As the popularity of women’s competitions and athletes continues to rise, so does engagement, influence and value to brands, broadcasters and rights holders. Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is a shining example of this: it draws larger audiences across the season than any other women’s code and also has the largest percentage of female viewers.

Season 3 of the SSN competition kicks off on 27 April, following an exciting season 2 which saw the introduction of the new bonus point system, bringing great tension to the end of each quarter played throughout the year.


Over one-in-five Australian adults (21%) are fans or consumers of Netball. The table below highlights that compared to the other major women’s codes, SSN fans are far more engaged, particularly when it comes to watching games on TV and attending games. These metrics are crucial for driving direct and indirect revenue for a sport.

Brands are now more sophisticated in measuring the impact of their sponsorships and the value of potential partners. This highly-engaged SSN fan base makes SSN a very attractive prospect for brands looking beyond simply the reach of the sport.

Brand Attributes

The SSN competition is seen as social, family-orientated, youthful, Australian, and community-minded – all very attractive attributes for partners to align with. From Season 1 to Season 2, there was significant growth in SSN being perceived as ‘Australian’, ‘social’, and ‘a sport which people are proud to be associated with’.

What’s Next

The rapid growth in the number of women’s professional leagues and teams represents both  opportunities and challenges for netball. The increase in women’s competitions has led to a sharp rise in media coverage for women’s sport, opening women’s sporting competitions up to new audiences. On the flipside, the increase in leagues and teams means SSN must compete harder for sponsors off the field and for athletes on the field.

The Netball World Cup this year is another opportunity to shine the light on netball, the growth of the local league and the quality of the talent from across the world playing on our shores. The sport’s stakeholders will be expecting another year of rising audiences and attendance.

The overarching challenge for netball will be to continue to reach and engage new audiences to grow beyond the existing netball fan base.


Nielsen Sports’ SportsLink focuses on understanding Australians’ sports, entertainment, arts and cultural interests. It has a particular focus on sports and deep-dives into fan engagement, behaviours and sponsor recall of Australia’s top professional codes. Cost-effective and customisable, SportsLink helps you to understand who is connected to your sport, benchmark against others and monitor how interests are changing.

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