The FAST5 Netball World Series is returning to the international calendar with New Zealand to host the fast-paced tournament for the next three years.
Netball New Zealand has been awarded the rights through to 2024 with Christchurch playing host in both 2022 and 2023.
The world’s top six ranked teams will be invited to compete in the shortened form of the game, with ChristchurchNZ thrilled to support the FAST5 Netball World Series in the garden city at Christchurch Arena from 4-6 November.
World Netball CEO Clare Briegal said they were delighted to see FAST5 netball back on the international scene after a disrupted calendar due to the global pandemic, with New Zealand a great host for the netball spectacle.
“New Zealanders are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable netball fans in the world and I feel it’s fitting to see our fun, festive tournament return to New Zealand at this time,” she said.
“The FAST5 Netball World Series has had incredible success and a strong following and we’re looking forward to seeing that growth continue over the next three editions.”
FAST5 is a modified version of the game featuring multiple point shots, double point power plays, five players-a-side and shortened quarters. The Fast5 Ferns have dominated the world competition since 2009, winning seven titles.
Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said they were thrilled to be hosting the FAST5 Netball World Series and were looking forward to welcoming some of the game’s best international players to New Zealand.
“We’re really excited to be hosting this fast-paced tournament again – it is a real celebration of netball, on and off the court. Due to Covid-19 there have been challenges with delivering netball recently so what better way to welcome the return of FAST5 athletes than by hosting this event and welcoming the world's best netballers to our shores,” she said.
“There is a party-like atmosphere with this tournament, and I know it’s a phenomenally popular event with the athletes and spectators. Having such a great city as Christchurch to host the International netball event and knowing the huge support in Canterbury made it the perfect location to bring FAST5 back to New Zealand.”
“On behalf of Christchurch I’m thrilled to welcome Fast5 to the home of New Zealand’s most passionate netball fans,” said ChristchurchNZ GM Destination and Attraction Loren Heaphy.
“Netball is one of the most played sports in Canterbury and our fandom was on display during the successful, sold-out Constellation Cup held in Ōtautahi Christchurch in October 2019. This event will be great global showcase of our modern, rebuilt city and our region’s legacy of female sporting success.”
Netball New Zealand’s long-standing partner, Sky TV, will be the official broadcast partner for the FAST5 Netball World Series with all matches to be live on Sky Sport.
In another significant move, the FAST5 tournament will take the opportunity to increase its reach and include men’s and youth exhibition matches on the schedule.
“This is another opportunity to showcase men’s netball on the international stage and also highlight the strength of our youth teams, utilising this condensed version of netball,” Wyllie said.
New Zealand won the inaugural FAST5 Netball World Series which was held in Manchester in 2009 and have held the title seven times, including their last win in Melbourne in 2018, which was the last year the event was held. New Zealand last hosted the tournament in Auckland, 2014.