Another Tasmanian sporting organisation is seeking entry into the big leagues, with Netball Tasmania gunning for inclusion into the top-tier Super Netball competition.
- Netball Tasmania will launch a bid to enter the Super Netball league from 2023
- A team would cost approximately $3 million a year to run, with Netball Tasmania seeking $1 million in state government funding
- Netball Tasmania’s CEO says the “time is right” with new sporting upgrades and infrastructure under construction in the state
The organisation has decided to bid for entry into the league from 2023 when expressions of interest are sought this April.
It has previously flirted with the idea of bidding for a Super Netball licence but the idea has never progressed in the face of a lack of facilities, aging infrastructure and funding struggles.
However, with a multi-million-dollar indoor sports facility greenlit at the Derwent Entertainment Centre and a proposed new 5,000 seat stadium at Launceston, advocates believe the planets have aligned.
Netball Tasmania CEO Aaron Pidgeon says the sporting organisation still has work to do — including securing funding — but is confident the time is right to launch a bid.
“The door’s open for us to put in a submission,” he said.
Netball Australia seeks expressions of interest for league entry every four years.
While league expansion is not guaranteed, a strong Tasmanian bid could still see it included in the competition.
A Tasmanian team could also replace an existing team.
“Expansion isn’t our only avenue, we just need to put in the best submission we possibly can and if they believe that warrants an opportunity in the league, then we will be lucky enough to have a team,” Mr Pidgeon said.
A team would cost about $3 million to operate per season.
Netball Tasmania is seeking state government sponsorship of the team of $1 million a year, over the first four-year licence period.
It has a strong case, given the government’s $2 million per season commitment to the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers basketball team.
The government also now owns the Derwent Entertainment Centre and is no doubt seeking content for its new investment throughout the quieter winter months — a void which professional netball could fill.
Currently, the government shells out $580,000 per year to the Collingwood netball club in return for two games being played in the state per season.
“Whilst I think people have gotten behind Collingwood, it’s not been able to be a team of their own and I believe if people have a team of their own from Tasmania, then people will come out en masse to support it,” Mr Pidgeon said.
No funding has been committed but the government is supportive of the bid.
Cripps Waratah player Ashleigh Probert-Hill is a member of the Tasmanian Magpies ANL program and believes a professional team would grow the grassroots.
“From grassroots, the kids would have something to look up at and aspire to,” she said.
“Having a Tassie standalone team brings so much more opportunity for the athletes here and getting the exposure at that level would be awesome.”