The Netball World Cup has Raised the Roof in More Ways than One

A resounding success, the 2023 Netball World Cup has now officially been declared the Best Sports Event of the Year, at the prestigious Sports Business Awards in London. We consider reasons why this South Africa-hosted event won top honours. Photo: SA Govt on X

The 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town will be remembered for the impact it had on players, young and old. Several months down the line, the competition is widely regarded as a resounding success. 

The netball showpiece was held in South Africa for the first time this year. The SPAR Proteas didn’t reach their target of a podium finish at the tournament, but they showed fight in every match. They wowed the fans with their skills and talent at the Cape Town international Convention Centre.

The World Cup was one that raised the bar in many ways, and for this reason has been nominated for various awards, locally and internationally. 

The event was awarded the Best Sports Event of the Year at the recent Hollard Sport Industry Awards, just days after winning the same accolade at the prestigious Sports Business Awards in London. This doesn’t come as a surprise. As a journalist who attended the event, it was one of the better run international tournaments, having covered other events such as the recent Formula E and Cape Town Sevens over the years.

It was also enjoyed by spectators in attendance, it even attracted local and international stars like Caster Semenya and even a Hollywood celebrity, in Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson. 

The audience figures for the tournament were through the roof. The total cumulative audience for the tournament was 17.9 million, making it the biggest audience ever for a women’s sporting event in South Africa. 

The overall viewership figures for the 2023 Netball World Cup shattered past records – with the South African audiences alone, outperforming the entire NWC 2019 combined global viewership – making it the most watched event of its kind. These figures bode well for any other international women’s tournament that South Africa will bid for in the future. 

Part of the success of the tournament were the initiatives that were implemented in the build-up to the event, which helped to raise the profile of the game and garner interest in it. 

Telkom’s #STANDTALL campaign – which won Campaign of the Year at the Hollard Sport Industry Awards – was rolled out in prior to the start of the World Cup and, developed as a rallying cry, it was designed to use netball-led stories as a catalyst to encourage young South Africans to follow their dreams, using netball as a tool to do this.

Telkom hosted netball clinics through its campaign, using prominent campaign ambassadors Bongi Msomi, Izette Griesel, Khanyisa Chawane and Tshina Mdau, with each ambassador hosting their own clinic in their hometown; addressing assemblies and equipping young girls with skills that would further develop their performance and love for netball. 

Various playing kits, training equipment and netballs, were donated at each clinic in a bid to inspire the players to continue their participation in the sport, even when their participation in the event ended. Over 10,000 children from 12 different schools were engaged across the full campaign.

As a sponsor, Telkom says the programme was an enormous success, as the messaging translated well within the netball community, with a lot of players resonated with it. They reportedly achieved the largest jump in awareness – in less than a year – for a first-time sponsor of an event, and the highest audience ever for a women’s sporting event in South Africa.

Finally, the senior national tournament – the Telkom Netball League – was also staged ahead of the World Cup. Fifteen teams battled it out over various weekends in the lead-up to the main competition, and the Gauteng Jaguars were eventually crowned eventual winners for 2023. 

While, the Telkom Netball Championship saw the participation of more than 1,400 girls.

Netball will certainly benefit from all the exposure it has received over the year, and it is a sport that really needed that little boost to become one of the tops sporting codes in South Africa. 


Main Photo caption: A resounding success, the 2023 Netball World Cup has now officially been declared the Best Sports Event of the Year, at the prestigious Sports Business Awards in London. We consider reasons why this South Africa-hosted event won top honours. Photo: SA Govt on X

Photo 2 caption: Telkom’s #STANDTALL campaign had prominent campaign ambassadors Bongi Msomi, Izette Griesel, Khanyisa Chawane and Tshina Mdau, with each ambassador hosting their own clinic in their hometown; addressing assemblies and equipping young girls with skills that would further develop their performance and love for netball.. Photo: Netball SA on X

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