Pleasant surprise for country netball league after first live stream

International sports stars around the globe have become accustomed to performing in front of empty stands but for top netballers in country Victoria, it’s still an unusual experience.

When Sebastopol and Melton South players stepped onto a spectator-free court days before Victoria found itself back in lockdown they had one of the biggest audiences of any community sporting event across the state that weekend.

An online stream of the game – the Ballarat Football Netball League’s (BFNL) first ever live broadcast of senior netball – recorded 2,100 views.

Down the road, a senior football match between East Point and Redan was also being streamed to an audience of about 1,700.

“It shows that netball’s profile is building,” Sebastopol’s playing coach Georgia Cann said.

The match between Sebastopol and Melton South was played without spectators due to COVID-19 restrictions.(

Supplied: Sebastopol Football Netball Club/Nene’s Pics and Promotion


An audience from afar

Cann said the live stream allowed her relatives in Melbourne to watch her play.

“Several girls in the team had a lot of their family members watching too,” she said.

But the real triumph was in the viewing figures.

“There is obviously a long way to go to make things equal, especially the way things work at football and netball clubs,” Cann said.

“We’re really lucky at [Sebastopol] that football and netball are seen as equal and even, but I know in other clubs that’s not necessarily the case.

More action after the break

Community sport in Victoria is on hold again but before the sixth lockdown was announced the BFNL committed to live streaming netball for the rest of the seaso, including the finals.

“We knew there was an appetite for it and it hasn’t been done, certainly in regional leagues, before,” operations manager Shane Anwyl said.

“We livestream football, so we should be doing netball as well.”

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