THE Sunshine Coast may host one of three new franchises to compete in a revamped National netball league.
The new, as yet un-named team, would play under the Storm brand which already has a National Youth League and players in the Sunshine Coast Falcons State Rugby League side.
It would play out of the University of the Sunshine Coast as part of three-way deal with the Storm and the Sunshine Coast Council which has become major sponsor.
Mayor Mark Jamieson won't reveal the extent of ratepayer involvement in the enterprise, telling ABC Coast FM the figure was "commercial in confidence".
The National Netball League, previously known as the ANZ championship, will become an Australian-only competition from next season with New Zealand teams bowing out.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said Sunshine Coast Council was 100% supportive of the club's expression of interest recently submitted to Netball Australia which, if successful, would be the first professional national sporting team for the region.
"Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast are partnering as owners of the prospective team, with Sunshine Coast Council as a key supporter," Mayor Jamieson said.
The team would be based at the University of the Sunshine Coast sports stadium - a national standard indoor facility - as part of the University's High Performance Sports Strategy and ambition to be the preferred destination for elite athletes and teams.
"If successful, our first national senior sporting team will be a female team in a sporting code that is one of the fastest growing in the country,'' Mr Jamieson said.
"Providing leadership in this space is important for both Council and the University, particularly given that two-thirds of the university's 12,500 enrolled students are female.
"Netball is the highest female participation sport on the Sunshine Coast and has enjoyed substantial growth over the past three years with more than 6600 members in local competitions."
The council involvement would also see it work with state, local and national sporting bodies to ensure pathways for local players from grass roots to elite athletes.
The Melbourne Storm National Youth Competition and Academy is now based at Sunshine Coast Stadium and provides a pathway to Storm's NRL squad and elite coaching for 16-20 year olds.
Mr Jamieson said the opportunity to promote the Sunshine Coast to a national audience was priceless with matches to be televised nationally 14 times a year and featuring up to seven home games.
The council has just sponsored the Australian Surf Life Saving Titles through a direct cash contribution of more than $600,000 as well as extensive beach restoration work and other services.
Courtesy of Bill Hoffman of Sunshine Coast Daily
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