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England Netball secures funding lifeline with Vitality extension

Health and life insurance and investments provider Vitality has struck a three-year extension to its title partnership deal with England Netball in an agreement that is set to secure the future of the national team and see it renamed as the ‘Vitality Roses’.

England Netball said the agreement marks one of the largest deals in women’s sport in the UK, with Vitality to continue as Title Partner of the Netball International Series and the Netball Superleague as part of the deal.

England Netball chief executive Joanna Adams said in a statement: “Vitality’s continued investment is further testament to the phenomenal growth we’ve seen in the sport in the last 12 months. There is still a lot of talk about women’s sport but very few brands are actually providing that vital funding so we are incredibly proud that Vitality are continuing their support and investment.

“This partnership will help us to continue to build on the amazing things we have already achieved at a grassroots level right through to the Roses, particularly as we look ahead to the Netball World Cup on home soil next year.”

England won gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia earlier this year, but Adams in January admitted that the full-time national team programme was only guaranteed funding until 2019.

Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, but Vitality is reported to have more than doubled its investment. “We can now relax a little bit,” Adams told BBC Sport. “People were nervous, but the full-time programme can now continue for certain past 2019. There was pressure building up to the home World Cup – that’s not a good environment to be in – but this gives us comfort.”

Adams believes England’s Commonwealth Games gold has served to “fundamentally change the sport”. She added: “When you have that one moment it’s an international moment. It puts you in a completely different place and we would not have seen new investors without that, but we have now built a good commercial proposition. We are doing what male sports have done but we are just a few years behind.”