Vitality Netball Superleague Champions Manchester Thunder have received a major boost with investment from one of the region’s leading businessmen.
David Jennings, chief executive of leading door hardware supplier UAP Limited, based in Manchester, will join the Board of the Superleague franchise with his company Jennings Ventures Limited investing in Thunder.
At a time of growth across netball, following England’s Commonwealth Games win and the World Cup in Liverpool, the investment will be used to grow the franchise’s infrastructure off court to ensure the success on it can continue for the future.
One immediate impact will be the recruitment of Thunder’s first ever full-time franchise director as the countdown to the start of the new Superleague season in February 2020 continues.
The new member of the businesses leadership team will run the day-to-day operations of Thunder and look to grow the commercial side to bring more investment into the franchise.
Manchester Thunder Managing Director Debbie Hallas said:
“While we had a very successful season on court winning the Superleague, we also achieved that success with the lowest budget in the league. Long term, that’s not sustainable.
“We need to secure the future of Manchester Thunder and ensure we can support both our Superleague team on court and the Pathway which is finding and nurturing young netballers from across the North West. This investment will allow us to do that at a time when netball is in the spotlight more than ever before.
“David been a huge supporter of Thunder for some time – both as a netball supporter and a business leader, and I am thrilled he has seen the potential for the future. With his investment and experience, he will be instrumental in taking Thunder to the next level.”
David Jennings added:
“The chance to be involved in a leading North West based sports franchise was too good to be missed. Manchester Thunder is a fantastic brand which Debbie and her team have done brilliantly with up to this point.
“As we all know the sport is growing in popularity and many of the competitor franchises have financial backing from other professional bodies. Manchester Thunder does not, and is totally self-funded. That alone makes Manchester Thunder’s recent success all the more impressive.
“I am hoping my investment both now, and in the future, will help level the increasingly competitive financial playing field. Our goal currently on the court is to retain the Superleague title next year, and off court is to build the fan base and the sponsorship base. It is a challenge which we will relish.”