As both Netball Australia and Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) continue to investigate ways to engage new fans and promote netball far and wide, is it time for a netball game on the latest generation of consoles?
Channel 9 Commentator Sue Gaudion certainly thinks so and she even went a step further to declare an interest in lending her voice to the product should a developer want to create a new franchise.
“You know, I would love to [commentate on the game] if they wanted me, I think it would be absolutely fantastic,” she told The Inner Sanctum.
“It would provide a new platform for the stars of the game to be out there and engage new fans to the sport. I reckon the players would be all over it like a rash.
“The more you can do in terms of the products out there to draw people’s attention to the world of netball, the better.”
Netball, and in particular SSN, is striving to find ways to broaden its appeal. In recent years, the governing body has introduced he Super Shot, rolling subs and tactical timeouts.
For Australian sports lovers, the rise in popularity of both the NBA and English Premier League can be (anecdotally) partly attributed to both the NBA 2K series and FIFA’s annual release. Both titles regularly top the best sellers’ lists.
According to a study by Andrei S. Markovits and Adam Green, video games are having a positive impact on the development of soccer in the USA.
“A growing number of Americans has come to incorporate Europe’s most prestigious tournaments and prominent leagues into its daily sports consumption,” the paper, published in Sports in Society, reads.
“Our study analyses how a particular venue – EA Sports’ FIFA video game series – has contributed to this fascinating ongoing development
“Soccer’s popularity in following (in notable contrast to playing) continues to lag behind that of America’s ‘Big Four’ of football, baseball, hockey and basketball, recent events, aided by the burgeoning proliferation of FIFA the video game, may catapult soccer’s cultural presence into the Big Four’s in coming years.”
The sole question about a potential netball gaming franchise is – who could make the game?
Big Ant Studios in Melbourne, Australia, have made a name for themselves by developing some of Australia’s most iconic sports such as rugby league and Aussie Rules.
Their Rugby League Live series has seen four releases, while there are now two AFL Evolution titles. They have also produced Australian Open Tennis and cricket titles.
Whether or not the interest from the developer is there, you really must think that one of the first steps Netball Australia and Suncorp Super Netball’s new CEOs must take is investigating if the idea is viable.
It is worth noting that Rugby League Live features teams from around the world (including Canada and USA), the NRL and the Betfred Super League.
A netball game would ideally feature the SNN, New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership, England’s Vitality Netball Superleague and a World Cup Edition.