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A netball player lifts a trophy aloft

Loughborough Lightning lift the 2023 Super League title. Image provided by Morgan Harlow.

Lightning confirmed for relaunched Netball Super League

  • Loughborough Lightning are among eight successful teams set to propel the League forward from next season following the completion of a tender process

The Netball Super League (NSL), the UK’s elite level domestic competition, has today announced the Clubs that have been successful in a tender process to participate in the relaunched League from 2025, marking a significant step towards professionalisation.

The eight selected Clubs are:

  1. Loughborough Lightning
  2. LexisNexis Cardiff Dragons
  3. Leeds Rhinos
  4. London Mavericks
  5. London Pulse
  6. Birmingham Panthers
  7. Manchester Thunder
  8. Nottingham Forest Netball

Following a robust tender process, the eight successful Clubs have been selected due to their ability to deliver the on and off court advancements needed to raise the standards of the League. With powerful new ownership and investment models coming into the League, the new look competition will be built on stronger foundations as it embarks on a ten-year journey to full professionalisation.

Moving from ten to eight Clubs will ensure a greater concentration and dispersion of talent that will deliver a closer, more competitive League with higher quality games and thrilling to the wire action for fans.

For the upcoming season, 50% of games will be played at iconic arenas across the country, delivering bigger crowds and enhanced match day experiences for fans, whilst all games will be available to watch from home.

Off the court there will be a significant push to grow the fanbase and reach deep into untapped communities, taking existing fans on an exciting new journey, whilst bringing new fans in to enjoy an exhilarating and engaging new sportainment product.

Richard Wheater, Director of Sport, Loughborough University said: “Loughborough Lightning has a long and proud history in The Netball Super League and it’s an honour to contribute to a relaunched domestic league.

“The new format will undoubtedly set high standards and create a legacy for future generations. We’re incredibly proud of Lightning’s history in the competition and as reigning champions our pedigree in the sport has never been stronger.

“I’d like to place on record my gratitude to colleagues who worked tirelessly throughout the competitive tender process. Loughborough Sport as part of the wider University is dedicated to providing opportunities in women’s sport. This is another example of how we’re leading the way in the higher education sector.” 

Claire Nelson, NSL Managing Director said: “This is an incredibly exciting day as we unveil the Clubs which will help to define our League as we enter this new era for our domestic game. Going from ten clubs at present to eight next year will be a case of fewer, bigger, better, and we were so impressed with the levels of ambition presented by our Clubs through the highly competitive tender process. We have big plans as a League and believe that we have the right Clubs who can come on this incredible journey with us.

“We must say a huge thank you to all Clubs and interested parties who were involved in the tender process. Clearly, we’ve had to make some really difficult decisions along the way; decisions that were necessary to enable us to build a product that is built to last and one that our fans want to show up to and be a part of now and into the future We are proud to stand on the shoulders of all the Clubs that have laid the path for us and we will ensure that we honour their legacy by taking our League and sport to new heights as we move forward into this new era. 

“All eyes now are rightly on the end of the existing season which is building into a thrilling showdown ahead of what will be the biggest Grand Final ever. But we have an opportunity here like no other to fuel our growth and strengthen the infrastructure of our sport, so our focus is also on preparing our new Clubs for next season. We are so excited to have completed this first stage of the process and to be working with these fantastic and hugely ambitious Clubs to develop the most competitive, commercially vibrant and captivating League in the world.”

As part of the new changes from next season, squad sizes will reduce to ten to ensure Clubs are competitive and talented players are distributed. Player salaries will also increase and the League will be introducing a new salary cap and banding structure to ensure that players are remunerated in a more even and transparent way. The average salary will increase by at least 60% with the minimum salary payment more than doubling.

Furthermore, there will be a brand-new league to underpin the relaunched NSL which will deliver the next level of elite competition for emerging and returning players as well as coaches and officials. This exciting new layer of enhanced competition will be contested by the newly named teams, and will build and develop a greater pool of talent that will fuel the NSL for continued success in the future.

England Netball Chief Executive Fran Connolly added: “Today’s announcement signifies a pivotal moment for our sport. Professionalisation is part of our ten-year Adventure Strategy to accelerate the growth of the game in this country, and having now completed the exhaustive tender process we know we have the right Clubs on board to shape an exciting and sustainable future for the League.

“Following the Roses making history by breaking into their first World Cup Final in Cape Town last summer alongside thriving participation figures and membership numbers, it shows that there is incredible momentum behind netball and we are absolutely poised and ready to elevate the sport to new heights. This is without doubt the right time, and the right thing to do for the future of our sport that will help to strengthen every area of the game to inevitably inspire generations to come.”

The 2024 NSL season continues, with Round 16 taking place this week followed by Rounds 17 and 18, with the top four teams then progressing to the Semi Finals (22 June 2024) and Grand Final (29 June 2024) at Resorts World Arena.

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Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 24/66

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme and named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2024 QS World University Rankings – the eighth year running. 

Loughborough is ranked 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2025, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. 

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.