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25 October 2006 PR 06/121

Loughborough Lightning welcome Netball Superleague TV deal

Netball team Loughborough Lightning say they are delighted with the recent announcement that the Netball Superleague (NSL) will be televised by Sky Sports, starting this November.

The Netball Superleague is the most prestigious netball competition in the UK and the new deal will bring the first regular coverage of domestic netball on British TV.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the sport and a huge chance for Lightning to perform on a national stage,” said Andy Borrie, head of performance sport at Loughborough University. “Having had a really successful first season in the NSL Lightning are looking forward to the coming competition with relish.”

Led again by Loughborough graduate and former England captain Olivia Murphy, Lightning will have a fantastic blend of youth and experience and will be well placed to challenge for the NSL title. Along with Murphy, England stars Jade Clarke and Ama Agbeze will be the backbone of the team, with some exciting new players taking the court as well.

Last year several of Lightning’s home games drew capacity crowds. To capitalise on the interest netball is generating across the region, Lightning will this year play their games at the Sir David Wallace Sports Hall on the University campus.

Sky Sports will show a total of 17 matches from the tournament, starting on Thursday 30 November. During the season, they will broadcast:

Regular season: One match a week from netball’s superleague in prime time on Thursday nights. Each show will also feature highlights of the week’s three other games.

Play offs: Two games from across both weekends of the knock out stages of the tournament, played in May 2007

Grand final: The climax of the season, played in June 2007.

Announcing the new deal, Sue Ashworth of Sky Sports said: “We are making a real commitment to netball with more than twenty programmes scheduled over the season. It’s an exciting sport, popular with all ages, with strong participation of around one million players in the UK, and we are pleased to be able to cover it in such depth.”

Karen Rothery, Commercial Director at England Netball, said: “The announcement of our partnership with Sky Sports comes at a key time for netball in this country. The first season of the netball Superleague was very well received by players and spectators around the country, and we welcome the chance to bring the game to a wider audience, demonstrating how fast moving, physical and exciting netball can be.”

The netball Superleague features eight regionally based teams from across England and Wales: Leeds Met Carnegie (Yorkshire and Humberside), Northern Thunder (North West), Brunel Hurricanes (London and the South East), TeamBath (South West), Mavericks (East), Loughborough Lightning (Midlands), Team Northumbria (North East) and invitation side the Celtic Dragons (Wales).

More details on the tournament can be found at the events section at http://www.englandnetball.co.uk

More information about Loughborough Lightning can be found at http://www.loughboroughlightning.co.uk

ENDS

For all media enquiries contact:

Notes to editors

  1. Tickets for Loughborough Lightning matches are available on the ticket hotline,
    T: 01509 226250
  2. Under this new agreement, Sky Sports will also show six England international matches this season, starting with a three match Test series against South Africa in January 2007, as well as a tri-nations series against Jamaica and Australia in May 2007. England, current Commonwealth bronze medal holder, is currently ranked fourth in the world behind New Zealand, Australia and Jamaica. The deal follows Sky Sports coverage of England’s international matches against Jamaica in 2005 and South Africa in 2004.
  3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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