Netball Australia to move quickly if Magpies fold
Netball Australia chief executive Kelly Ryan says the preference is for another Melbourne-based side to be included in the Super Netball competition if Collingwood shut up shop.
The Magpies are reviewing their Super Netball program, and there are grave fears the team will be shut down at the end of the current season.
Netball Australia need to maintain an eight-team competition under the current broadcast deal, and Ryan is already in talks with potential new franchises.
If Collingwood do fold, Netball Australia would be keen to replace them with another Victorian-based franchise in order to have two teams based out of Melbourne.
"This is a really big market. Netball in Victoria is immensely strong," Ryan told SEN.
"So our natural preference from the outset is to have two teams in this market, but we want to be open to all opportunities."
Ryan is confident Netball Australia will be able to swiftly replace the Magpies if they opt out at the end of the season.
"We still have the best netball league in the world," she said.
"So if we need to find an additional licence - because we are absolutely committed to having eight teams continue in Super Netball into the future - then we'll get onto that process really quickly.
"I think we'll be in a really good position. We've had a number of interested parties reach out across the last couple of years flagging their desires.
"And even in the last 24 hours, there's been other people who have reached out wanting to have conversations about what the opportunity does look like.
"We are very confident that we will continue to have eight teams in the competition."
The news of Collingwood's potential demise has left the club's players and staff members stunned.
The Magpies have made the finals three times since entering the competition in 2017, but have never progressed past the first week of the play-offs.
Collingwood currently sit bottom of the ladder with a 2-7 record, and their poor results have contributed to the club's financial struggles.
Meanwhile, Kelly said Netball Australia will post a $300,000 profit this financial year in what represents a $4.7 million swing from their $4.4m loss in the last financial year.
This year's Super Netball grand final will be held at Melbourne's John Cain Arena on July 8 irrespective of which teams make the decider.
The location for this year's decider was already locked in as part of the $15m sponsorship deal with Visit Victoria.
That sponsorship deal runs until 2027, but it's unclear whether it means the grand final will be held in Melbourne every year until then.