The rise of Netball in the Uk...

Discussion in 'General Hockey Chit-Chat' started by MKochar, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Lifelong

    Lifelong FHF Newbie

    Aug 23, 2016
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    Proving this will be like agreeing the oldest club in the world etc but I'm pretty sure Back to Hockey (in its club based gestation and then the England Hockey brand version) inspired 'Back to xxx' in a number of sports...something the sport probably doesn't make the most of...
  2. AlanD

    AlanD FHF Star Player

    Apr 13, 2012
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    I actually work at one of the places which hosts one of the Superleague teams (Surrey Storm) and so it see from the 'other side'

    England Netball have an active policy to get their best players playing each other in a small league. It is played at times when Netball players can attend and it is marketed heavily to juniors. The deal with Sky does not bring in a lot of money but it does give them exposure. We can seat just under 1000 a match and we will sell out all of our matches this season. Can you remember the last a time a club game in hockey had a 1000 spectators?

    A couple of points

    - Netball sells itself to the female very effectively since (in the UK) it is an exclusively female sport
    - All matches are indoors with entertainment at half time

    I'd argue that to compare Hockey with Netball is almost impossible in this respect. They are very different products. As a hockey fan, I find matches rarely televise well - trying to follow a fast small ball round a pitch on a TV is challenging. And who wants to pay to sit outside when the temperature is under 10C - Only football and top end rugby achieve any reasonable numbers.
    #22 AlanD, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    MikeyBobs, Krebsy and Ravennghorde like this.
  3. GPrice85

    GPrice85 FHF Newbie

    Jun 23, 2015
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    Kent, UK
    The only way I see that you could make hockey a genuinely marketable game that is capable of bringing in 1000+ paying crowds, with games on tv and all the trappings that go with it, is to put in place a centrally run franchise system, with about 8 teams playing in their various regions (ie London, South East (ie Surrey/Kent), South, East, North West, Midlands, South, West Country) with the best UK players spread around evenly, and investment (from who, no idea, maybe tv deal) to bring in marquee players from other countries. Basically I'm suggesting the Hockey India League in the UK.

    The reason for this is from my experience, the only people interested in watching hockey, are those that play it (or used to play it) themselves, and people are just not interested in watching "that lot up the road with all the cash"'s first team play whoever in the national league - call it tribalism or whatever, but when my club is skint, the last thing I'm going to do is chuck millionaire David South a fiver or whatever to watch Holcombe play national league matches.

    One obvious problem with this would be creating the suitable facilities in all the regions that could accommodate the matches. As far as I'm aware apart from Lea Valley, there aren't any facilities ready to host matches with large attendances.

    Another issue would be those clubs that already pay their players getting their knickers in a twist over not being the pinnacle of hockey anymore, but frankly, who cares? If they really care about hockey that much, then they can all club in in the investment in the new league structure... doubt they would though. I would personally prefer this situation, as we could basically consider the England Super league the only professional league in the country, with the standard national going back to being amateur.

    Ultimately, it all comes down to money, and therefore investment, so will never happen. But as I see it, this is the only way that hockey could genuinely be a nationally watched and followed sport outside of Olympic games and the like.
  4. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Super Star

    Mar 7, 2013
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    Im sure Reading and Beeston could host top level matches, as they have done in the past.
  5. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

    Jan 6, 2011
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    I'm afraid that is very true. I would suggest that to a non-Hockey person (player, coach or umpire), casually channel "hopping" on TV, hockey is difficult to understand and the commentators rarely explain (or understand themselves). Whereas a sport such as Netball (or soccer) is easier to understand.

    The other issue is hockey traditionally sits roughly (in Southern England at least) in the same social class "area" as Rugby Union (I'm not being elitest here, it's a fact - look at where Schools hockey is mostly played - Public Schools). To attract non players to watch top level hockey, you need to drag a few thousand away from Rugby ever week .... I'm really not sure how we achieve that. Sure, club members and ex-members will turn up for their club's 1st XI matches, but that will never get us beyond the current 100 or so ....
    MKochar and Ravennghorde like this.

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