Netball Australia (NA) has lost $7.2 million in the past two years and have bank loans of around $4m.
In the 2021 season, NA lost about $4.4m with much of the loss blamed on the cost of hubs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Super Netball finals series starts on Saturday with the governing body having sold off the grand final hosting rights to the highest bidder, Perth.
That decision was slammed by the Australian Netball Players Association, which said players were “devastated” by the decision and not being consulted.
NA chief executive officer Kelly Ryan has defended that decision, made with just two rounds remaining in the minor round season.
Ryan says it’s part of plans to ensure the sport is sustainable.
“We understand the financial position we’re in and we have been very transparent about it,” Ryan said in a statement on Friday.
“We are not on the brink of financial ruin.
“We know what is needed to protect the future of Netball Australia.
“This means we must continue to explore financial and commercial opportunities to ensure our organisation is positioned for growth.
“We will have to make difficult decisions along the way but we know these decisions will help us rebound as quickly as we can.”
Ryan said accepting sponsorship from gambling companies was not “out of the realms of possibility”.
“The reality is that gambling sponsorships are very significant and very lucrative in sports,” she told the ABC.
“Netball has to put itself a little bit more outside its comfort zone in terms of what it does contemplate and consider.
“A lot of things have to make sense for a deal of that nature.
“But there are plenty of other commercial opportunities that sit outside the sport as well that haven’t been materialised yet and that is something we’ve got to take a really good look at.”
Ryan, who took over as NA chief executive last year, said netball needed to maximise its full commercial potential.
“Unfortunately, female sport doesn’t attract the value in sponsorship dollars that some of our male counterpart sports do,” she said.
“So we really need to challenge and change that because it is absolutely worth the investment in every sense.
” … We just need to be focused that it is a commercial asset, that netball is a commercial business, and we need to start thinking with that mindset so we can change the way it’s been tracking.”
Netball Australia has been approached for further comment.Jump to next article