Woolies And Suncorp Marketers On Why Brands Are Investing BIG In Netball

Woolies And Suncorp Marketers On Why Brands Are Investing BIG In Netball
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

In this op-ed, Victoria Mackinlay, chief storyteller at House of Kitch Communications, asked long-term netball investors Mim Haysom, EGM brand and customer experience for Suncorp and Sarah De La Mare, head of community & sponsorships at Woolworths, why they’re backing netball amid the building excitement of the 2027 Women’s World Cup in Sydney.

There’s a huge buzz around netball right now with a change in leadership and the community embracing the appointment of netball legend Liz Ellis to the Netball Australia Board last week.

Netball is also holding rank as the number one female team sport in Australia, with over a million Australians donning netball bibs last year. Participation is growing over 5% year on year with both male and female player increases.

At the professional level, Suncorp Super Netball just announced the best start to the season with record-breaking viewership and attendance. The Foxtel Group recorded its highest streamed viewership across rounds 1 and 2, while over 80,000 fans attended matches in the opening four rounds—a new record for the league.

All this coincides with one of the most successful years of Australian netball on the international stage, with the Diamonds winning every competition, including the World Cup, and the Kelpies men’s team retaining the Trans-Tasman Cup.

With the upcoming opportunity of the Netball World Cup in Sydney in 2027, we asked Mim Haysom, EGM Brand and Customer Experience for Suncorp, and Sarah De La Mare, head of community & sponsorships at Woolworths, why their brands decided to invest big in the sport.

“Sport is a quintessential part of the Australian life,” Haysom said. “We know there are societal and economic benefits for sport participation and physical activity across all life stages”.

De La Mare agrees: “As the Fresh Food People, and deeply ingrained in Australian communities, we recognise the pivotal role that sports play in fostering health and wellbeing, particularly for girls”.

Woolworths’ NetSetGo program for kids aged five to 10 offers a chance to learn netball basics during fun sessions at centres across Australia. “By investing in netball at the grassroots level, we can support kids to understand the importance of eating fresh food and its positive impacts on and off the court,” De La Mare said.

Meanwhile Suncorp has been a long-term partner of Netball and the AIS, supporting girls and women’s sport through its innovative Team Girls social initiative. The program was founded on a key insight: “For girls, we know that the drop-out rate in sport remains much higher than boys,” Haysom said. “So it’s important we keep increasing the access and profile of women’s sport at a community participation level through to the elite level, so our girls can see opportunities and pathways to benefit into adulthood”.

Mim Haysom, EGM Brand and Customer Experience for Suncorp

Empowering women through sports and genuinely connecting their brand with netball participants and fans across levels has translated positively into brand appeal for Suncorp. “Pleasingly, we see the benefits of our commitment translate to short-term metrics with engagement and longer-term metrics such as increased brand salience, consideration and trust levels amongst our customers,” she said.

At the professional level, being a predominantly female sport, netball generates a ‘girl power’ energy in the stadiums unlike any other sport. “Suncorp Super Netballers and the Australian Diamonds are elite athletes who are inspirational, fierce, confident and authentic,” she said. “They are powerful and relatable role models who have a unique connection to women and girls, and all netball fans”.

Suncorp, a premier partner of Netball NSW, spirit award prize for Hills District Netball Association

When asked about advice for other brands considering investing in women’s sports, Haysom emphasised the importance of getting involved soon.

“The time to invest in women’s sport is now,” says Haysom. With the Women’s Netball World Cup coming to Australia in 2027, brands have a unique opportunity to partner with netball and grow with the sport in the lead-up to the hype and profile of a World Cup Campaign.

“We all witnessed what happened with the Matildas’ World Cup campaign last year, and once again, Australia will have the benefit of hosting another Women’s World Cup at home, which is a huge growth opportunity for the sport”.

Sarah De La Mare, Head of Community & Sponsorships at Woolworths

De La Mare echoes her sentiments, emphasising the significance of the event in inspiring the next generation of female athletes: “The Women’s World Cup isn’t just about showcasing athletic prowess; it’s about breaking barriers and supporting the netball stars of the future. We will no doubt witness history in the making”.

The countdown to the 2027 Women’s World Cup in on! Brands and the next wave of superstar athletes from the NSW Swifts and Giants Netball are coming together at Netball Central, Homebush, on Wednesday, 15th May, to strategise, collaborate and throw open the opportunities in a ‘Shooting for 2027’ storytelling workshop. If you would like your brand to be involved, Google ‘Events Netball NSW’ to register.

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