Strathclyde Sirens are the “game changer” for netball in Scotland

Strathclyde Sirens are the “game changer” for the sport of netball in Scotland, according to their chief executive officer Claire Nelson.

Nicola McCleery in action for the Strathclyde Sirens against Severn Stars in the Vitality Super League.
Nicola McCleery in action for the Strathclyde Sirens against Severn Stars in the Vitality Super League.

Sirens are the country’s only professional netball team – some players are full time, some are part-time – and fly the flag for Scotland in the Vitality Netball Superleague where they currently sit in sixth place, one point behind Leeds Rhinos and two adrift of Wasps in the play-off spot.

Their next game is against Celtic Dragons at the Copper Box Arena in London, currently being used as a closed-doors hub for games amid the pandemic, on June 13, before their final match against Manchester Thunder a week later.

Nelson believes the Sirens are “critical” to netball north of the border.

Strathclyde Sirens are Scotland’s only professional netball team.

“They are and remain the biggest game changer for our sport for so many reasons,” she said.

“The performance element of it, being able to play against world class athletes every week in top flight competition, having a top class training programme, but also visibility, as visibility builds not only participation but fan base.

“The team has been performing fantastically. This season has shown that we are hungry to get into the top four and be a truly competitive team that can lift the trophy.

“The more people engage with your sport, the more powerful your sport is. It allows us to change the game.

Strathclyde Sirens are currently sixth in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

“It brings investment, it brings sponsors and that allows us to invest back into the sport.

“If you look at any sport, like football, it grows behind the professional game, the clubs, fans, the competition and visibility.

“When you have that it allows you to reinvest back into the grassroots, the community, the pathway and development.

“The thing is with Sirens and the national team, Scottish Thistles, they are not regional, the entire country can get behind the club and the country.

Claire Nelson, right, says the Strathclyde Sirens are the “game changer” for the sport of netball in Scotland.

“The entire country, regardless of gender, ability, or background, can be part of the Sirens tribe and that is very powerful for a sports team that competes in a UK-wide league.”

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Sirens normally play out of the Emirates Arena in the east end of Glasgow and Nelson has targeted a sell-out when the team and crowds are able to return. She was highly encouraged by the attendances prior to lockdown.

She said: “Our one and only home game last year was our biggest crowd ever, it was a sell-out, just short of 2,000, and it was played in the back halls of the Emirates.

“We have always had one of the highest spectator numbers in the league even as a relatively new club in it.

“Next season we are going to try to surpass that and put a couple of games into the main arena that has a 5,000 capacity and really start building that live spectator fan base.

“We need both, ticket sales and eyeballs on television and streaming.

“We have huge ambitions around going fully professional, selling out that arena and building a strong brand that Scotland can get behind.”

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