By Hannah Blackwell
Cardiff Dragons will have to bid for a place in the new revamped Netball Super league in two years’ time.
The Dragons – who themselves have rebranded this year from their former identity of the Celtic Dragons – will have to go through a tender process along with all the other current nine teams in the league.
The aim is to make the NSL fully professional in the years ahead and make it the most commercially successful netball tournament in the world.
The revamp comes after Wales finished in ninth place at 2023 World Cup, where England won a historic silver medal.
A new era for the NSL ⭐
England Netball has announced plans to take the NSL to new heights from 2025. This marks the first step in EN's ambition to build the most competitive and captivating professional netball league in the world.
Read all about it 👇
— Netball Super League (@NetballSL) October 10, 2023
Existing clubs and other interested parties can now submit interest, with teams set to be confirmed by spring 2024.
The Dragons have competed in the top tier tournament since 2005 and were one of the founder members.
They were runners-up in the Grand Final of 2013, but have struggled in recent seasons and finished bottom of the table this year, with just two victories in 18 matches.
England Netball says the plan is to launch “the most competitive, commercially vibrant and captivating professional netball league in the world”.
It's the start of a brand new era for the sport!
England Netball has announced plans to relaunch the Netball Super League from 2025#NetballSL
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 10, 2023
Super League managing director Claire Nelson, who was appointed earlier this year, said in a statement: “After a watershed summer of unprecedented growth in visibility and interest for women’s sport as a whole, in which netball in particular has experienced historic new levels of success on and off the court, the time is right to capitalise on the sport’s popularity and transform the domestic game.
“The relaunch of the NSL presents an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine and engineer what professional netball can and should look like here in the UK.
“We know that netball has huge potential in the women’s sport and entertainment arena, and we have the drive and vision to fully unlock it in order to position the NSL as a pioneering, exciting and game-changing proposition within the sports market.”
Wales netball captain Nia Jones is expecting a "carnival atmosphere" when Cardiff Dragons play at the Utilita Arena next June.
Jones says playing at the venue is a "scoop" for Wales' top netball side.#BBCNetball
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) October 10, 2023