Super Netball CEO: “I Think The Big Change Is Still Yet To Be Seen”
Suncorp Super Netball CEO, Chris Symington, told Ministry of Sport COVID-19’s big impact on the sports industry will only be seen as sports come out the back of the pandemic.
“I think the big change is still yet to be seen,” Symington said.
“Sports have had to adapt really quickly in order to survive, and that’s caused a lot of uncertainty and in some cases a lot of pain, but has also created opportunity, so we’re still working through that at the moment.
“I think the biggest change will be seen as we come out the back of this and we start reimagining what sport looks like and how it should be delivered, I think COVID-19 will have a really long lasting impact on the industry,” he said, discussing how the COVID-19 global pandemic will impact the sport industry going forward.
When asked about the return of Suncorp Super Netball on August 1, Symington said there’s going to be more competition for fan attention, with a lot of sports making their returns and pushing back their end dates.
“How do we emerge? How do we come out of this giving ourselves the best possible chance to succeed and not just survive, but thrive as well?” Symington said.
“That’s the challenge, we know that with lots of sports coming back now, there’s going to be even more in the back half of the year, big competition for fans; there’s already fierce competition for fans and it’s going to be even fiercer towards the end of the year.
“We’ve had a big focus on content and using our digital channels to tell the story of the league, the players and the teams and keeping fans connected over that period, as well as curating our partners into that.
“We’ve had to get creative, as everyone has, to make sure we can continue to deliver on those partnerships and generate value,” he said, talking about the role of Super Netball’s commercial partners during the pandemic.
With fans beginning to roll out into live sporting events across Australia in the AFL and NRL, Symington is confident Super Netball fans will come back to the sport when they are given the chance.
“We know that when people come and see Super Netball live, they’re hooked, so the ability to come in stadia and see it, not just watch it on TV, is really important for our growth as well,” Symington said.
“I think there’s going to be a high level of anticipation and desire to get back to live sport and be a part of that as it emerges.
“But it will depend on what the situation with COVID-19 is like, we know that in each state there’s different levels of transmission and anxiety around where the disease is at the moment.
“So that’s going to play a part in whether or not people feel comfortable in coming back, we’ll be working really hard to ensure our environments are as safe as possible.
“We believe our product will draw them back,” he said.
When asked what advice he would give to sporting organisations around Australia planning their return to sport, Symington said resilience will be a key trait.
“Sports need to be prepared to do a lot of work that could eventually get thrown out the window and have to start all over again, so the ability to be resilient and the ability to understand that you might be formulating a plan that isn’t going to eventuate and you might have to start again,” Symington said.
“It’s important to have that frame of reference in mind otherwise you’ll get disappointed that you’re not delivering on what you thought was going to be the outcome, because it might not happen,” he said.