Looking back at the Vitality Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019
on 8 min read
TUESDAY 11 AUGUST - Samoa (SAM) v Singapore (SIN) in a Pool G qualification round game on Day 5 of the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY. Photo: Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)
In 2009 England Netball, in partnership with Liverpool City Council, UK Sport and The ACC Liverpool Group, started work on a bid to host the Netball World Cup which was submitted to the International Netball Federation (INF) in 2014. In 2015, the INF confirmed that the bid had been successful.
sport had experienced growth throughout the world in the years prior to the
tournament. As the INF’s flagship event, its aim was to
create a step change in knowledge transfer that would support the INF in its
ambition to develop the game worldwide and to shine a spotlight on women’s
committed to a 10-year partnership with England Netball to build participation
and grow the audience up to and beyond the Netball World Cup through a series
of top internationals. The arena has
hosted a series of netball tournaments previously including the World Netball
was therefore a huge coup for the city, and the country, to win the Vitality
Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019 and demonstrated Liverpool’s track record for
hosting major global events.
The tournament was delivered by Netball
World Cup Limited in partnership with England Netball, UK Sport, Liverpool City
Council and The ACC Liverpool Group, on behalf of the INF.
entire Liverpool event campus was utilised for the tournament – a total of 45,000 m2 event space. All the action took place on specially
constructed courts inside M&S Bank Arena Liverpool. For this event, the arena had
a maximum seating capacity of
8,000 and 3,400 m2 floor space.
The venue was transformed into two separate courts for the first
part of the tournament then converted into one court for the later stages.
underneath the arena was transformed to include a press room, mixed zone and
broadcast areas. The
arena concourse was used for merchandise as well as catering, provided by the
venue’s catering service partner Centerplate.
The external piazza was transformed into a fan zone which contained
everything from netball courts to merchandise units, from catering outlets to
music and general experiential activities.
Exhibition Centre Liverpool was used
for a plethora of different events, from training courts to the ‘Make the Game
Liverpool’ event, hosted by England Netball.
ACC Liverpool was used in a number
of ways including a warm-up hall, a staff rest area and wrap-around events
organised by the International Netball Federation and its partners. In addition, parts of the convention
centre were transformed into three separate hospitality areas – the Eastbourne
Lounge, Legends Suites and Liverpool 2019 Lounge – coordinated by the venue’s
in-house catering team. Guests were able to experience and enjoy premium
food and drink before each match.
Pullman Liverpool was the headquarters hotel for the INF.
Elseewhere in the city, an official fan
zone was created at Chavasse Park, Liverpool ONE, with more than 44,000 spectators
flocking to watch the match action
streamed live on a giant screen, take part in netball activities and enjoy
music and entertainment – all programmed by Culture Liverpool. Culture Liverpool also organised an opening
ceremony featuring dance, music, projections and pyrotechnics, which
wowed an audience of more than 6,000 at M&S Bank Arena Liverpool and an
international TV audience of hundreds of thousands.
took place across the city including a candle lighting ceremony at St George’s
Hall in the city centre. Dating back to the first World Cup in 1963, the
candle lighting ceremony is a poignant moment of reflection before the battle
on the court begins. Captains from every
competing nation were invited to light a candle in recognition of friendship,
goodwill and a commitment to honour the spirit of netball.
Other events included a welcome and
closing party at Hinterlands in Cains Brewery Village and an INF delegate
welcome event at the Museum of Liverpool.
A BBC Sport Relief celebrity netball
match, hosted by presenter Clare Balding, took place during the tournament
session on Friday 19 July. Team captains
Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse, together with celebrities and netball
legends, battled it out on the court in front of a packed arena. Highlights of the match were then shown on
BBC Two during the closing weekend in a special programme.
tournament was the largest and most high-profile international women’s sporting
event ever hosted in the city. It was a
huge operation but the flexibility of the campus meant that all spaces could be
used in different ways from the training courts in the exhibition centre, to
meetings in the convention centre, to the courts in the arena. Fans gathered on the piazza in front of the
campus every day for entertainment, merchandise and catering outlets.
From the event confirmation in 2015,
four years of intense and detailed planning ensued. Every team across The ACC Liverpool Group
worked closely with the Netball World Cup team to deliver a successful event and
covered every aspect from ticketing to marketing support, from operational
delivery elements like security, cleaning, facilities, IT services, catering
and production to event management. The
events and operations team were at the heart of the delivery of the event and
the entire team was led by Michelle Cruise, event manager, and Tom Lechthaler,
assistant director (events). On
any day around 300 members of staff from The ACC Liverpool Group and its
service partners worked exclusively on this event.
Ticket Quarter, the organisation’s ticketing
agency, provided a full ticketing service for the tournament which included
powering the ticketing of Netball World Cup’s official website, on-site box
office, contact centre and marketing support. Coordinating ticketing
allocation was challenging due to the high volume of sales, the variety of fan
packages and multiple priority on sales for pre-qualified fan groups.
Ticketing was a resounding
success and sales smashed all targets with over 112,000 visitors across the 10
closing ceremony drew the tournament to an end and breakdown began straight
away in time for the British Gymnastics Championship Series which took place at
M&S Bank Arena in the same week.
Despite the tight operational turnaround, the venue was prepared and
successfully hosted the gymnastics just days later.
economic benefit of the event to the city was phenomenal with hotels,
restaurants and attractions packed out for over 10 days.
Sports and BBC Sport were broadcast partners and the tournament was transmitted
to viewers across the world.
Impett, event director of Vitality Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019, said: “The
Vitality Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019 was a spectacular event and shone a
spotlight on this increasingly popular sport.
were thrilled with the success of the tournament and bowled over by the support
it received across the world. A huge
thanks to the people of Liverpool for really getting behind the Vitality
Netball World Cup – adding to the vibrant, festival atmosphere across the city
– and for extending their renowned friendliness to all fans.”
Williams, commercial director of The ACC Liverpool Group, operator of M&S
Bank Arena Liverpool, said: “This was the biggest global sporting event we have
ever hosted at M&S Bank Arena Liverpool and it was an incredible
entire city was a hive of activity and the bustling atmosphere was in abundance
in and around the arena and across the region.
An event of this calibre takes many years to come to fruition and is
only possible with the work that goes on behind the scenes. For this particular event we worked closely
with Liverpool City Council, UK Sport, England Netball and, once we won the
bid, the INF so it was a huge achievement for multiple organisations and will
help to pave the way for more major sporting events in the future.”
Jennifer Jensen, head of business tourism at Marketing
Liverpool, said: “Liverpool shines brightest when it hosts huge events, and the
Vitality Netball World Cup was the biggest in the city this year with ticket
sales topping 112,000. What was
particularly pleasing for us was the geographical spread with more than 4,000 bought
tickets from overseas. The biggest contingent was from Australia and the
eventual champions New Zealand, but fans from more than 30 countries lit up the
“As well as overseas visitors, we had tens of thousands
of people coming from outside the city. All these fans provided a huge economic
boost to hotels, restaurants, attractions and the many other businesses
connected to the visitor economy.
“The economic impact was of course immediate, but
the long-term benefit was immense too. TV broadcast overwhelmingly positive
images of Liverpool to viewers around the world, and thousands of people
visiting the city for the first time left as its newest ambassadors, telling
friends and family what a great place it is to visit. These factors aren’t just
a nice bonus but are vital in giving people a positive impression of the city
and attracting future visitors.”
legacy of the tournament will help to pave the way for future major sporting
events in the city such as the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and
the Rugby League World Cup 2021. The organisers of Rugby League World Cup and Vitality
Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
ahead of the tournament – a world’s first for two sporting tournaments. This unique agreement will see the two
respective tournaments cooperate and share knowledge on a regular basis.
Wendy Simon, deputy mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events,
added: “Liverpool is a sporting city known worldwide for football, horseracing
and boxing and following July’s incredible spectacle, we can now add netball to
10 days, netball fever was rife and the global spotlight shone on the city
which raised the bar when it came to staging this show-stopping event.
were delighted with the success of the city council-run Fan Park. Whatever the
weather, fans flocked to Chavasse Park to be part of the experience – whether
it was to watch a match on the big screen, enjoy the amazing programme of live
music and entertainment or just test out their own netball skills.
was the place to go to soak up the World Cup atmosphere and we’re proud
to have been part of such an unforgettable event.”
sessions at 100% capacity with none less than 40% target