Netball Superleague

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Netball Superleague
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 Netball Superleague season
ZeoNSLLogo1 .jpg
Inaugural season2005–06
No. of teams10
Country United Kingdom
Most recent
Manchester Thunder (3rd title)
Most titlesTeam Bath (5 titles)
TV partner(s)Sky Sports (UK)

The Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) is the elite netball competition in the United Kingdom. The league, which usually runs from February to July, features ten teams from across England, Wales and Scotland.


Netball has a long history in the United Kingdom, though until 2005 the sport had no elite, semi-professional competition at a national level, with local leagues being the predominant form of competition.[1] The amateur nature of the sport domestically differed sharply from the trans-tasman ANZ Championship competition operating in Australia and New Zealand. The local competition setup arguably had a deleterious impact on the national team, which had slipped to fourth in the world and was not meeting the standard and rigours of international competition.[1] In this context, England Netball began overseeing significant organisational and structural changes to the sport, which included the establishment of a new franchise-based national netball league which could increase player standards and provide weekly elite competition.[2] This eventually led to the launch of the Netball Superleague (NSL) in October 2005, which culminated in Team Bath winning the first final in June 2006.[3]

The eight inaugural teams who were successful in their application to join the league were Brunel Hurricanes, Celtic Dragons, Saracens Mavericks (originally named Hertfordshire Mavericks), Leeds Carnegie (renamed Yorkshire Jets in 2011), Loughborough Lightning, Manchester Thunder, Team Bath and Team Northumbria.[2] The Glasgow Wildcats were brought into the league in 2008/09 though removed in 2011/12 and the Brunel Hurricanes re-located and became the Surrey Storm in 2009/10.[2][4] By late 2016 the league had expanded to 10 teams and a Glasgow-based team had been reinstated in the competition, the Scottish Sirens.[5] Two other teams, Coventry-based Wasps and Worcester-Gloucester based Severn Stars were included, though the lowly Yorkshire Jets were removed from the league.[5] At the end of the 2018 season, Team Northumbria were removed from the league and replaced by London-based franchise London Pulse.[6] The league has announced that Leeds Rhinos Netball (affiliated with the professional rugby league team) will join the competition in 2021.[7]

The league has been dominated by a handful of teams at different stages. The most successful team is Team Bath, who won four premierships in five seasons (2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2009-10), before claiming a fifth title in 2013. Both Saracens Mavericks and Manchester Thunder achieved two titles in intervening years, whilst Surrey Storm and Wasps Netball claimed back-to-back premierships (the Storm in 2015 and 2016 and the Wasps in 2017 and 2018). The current champions are Manchester Thunder, who defeated Wasps in the 2019 Grand Final.

Vitality are the current naming-rights sponsor of the competition.[8]


Sky Sports broadcast some matches in the competition to its television audience. England Netball signed a four-year deal with the company in November 2016.[9]


Current teams[edit]

Team Base Est. First NSL
Championships Most
CelticDragonsColours.png Celtic Dragons Cardiff 2005 2006 0
LondonPulseColours.png London Pulse Stratford, London 2018 2019 0
LoughboroughLightningColours.png Loughborough Lightning Loughborough, Leicestershire 2005 2006 0
ManchesterThunder.png Manchester Thunder Manchester 2005 2006 3 2019; 0 years ago (2019)
HertfordshireMavericksColours.png Saracens Mavericks Hatfield, Hertfordshire 2005 2006 2 2011; 8 years ago (2011)
SevernStarsColours.png Severn Stars Worcester 2016 2017 0
SirensNetballColours.png Sirens Netball Glasgow 2016 2017 0
SurreyStormColours.png Surrey Storm Guildford, Surrey 2005 2006 2 2016; 3 years ago (2016)
TeamBathColours.png Team Bath Bath, Somerset 2005 2006 5 2013; 6 years ago (2013)
WaspsNetballColours.png Wasps Netball Coventry 2016 2017 2 2018; 1 year ago (2018)

Future teams[edit]

Team Base Est. First NSL
Championships Most
RhinosNetballColours.png Leeds Rhinos Leeds 2017 2021 0

Former teams[edit]

Team Base Est. First NSL
Last NSL
Glasgow Wildcats Glasgow 2008 2009 2012 0
Yorkshire Jets Yorkshire 2005 2005 2016 0
Team Northumbria Newcastle upon Tyne 2005 2005 2018 0


  1. ^ a b "The Netball Super League: Origins". Archived from the original on 1 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Dr. Louise Mansfield & Dr. Lara Killick (1 January 2012). "The UK Netball Superleague: A Case Study of Franchising in Elite Women's Sport" (PDF). Brunel University, School of Sport and Education, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK; and University of the Pacific, Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Science, Stockton, CA.
  3. ^ "All England Netball Association Limited Annual Report (2005 - 2006)" (PDF). Refer to pp. 3 of the report.
  4. ^ "Brunel Hurricanes become Surrey Storm". Netball Scoop Archive. 4 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Netball Superleague: Three new teams added, but Yorkshire Jets left out". BBC Sport. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Netball Superleague: London Pulse to replace Team Northumbria in 2019". BBC Sport. 10 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Netball Superleague: Leeds Rhinos to join league from 2021". BBC Sport. 5 June 2019.
  8. ^ "About Us". Netball Superleague Website.
  9. ^ "Sky Sports sign four-year deal with England Netball". Sky Sports. 27 November 2016.

External links[edit]