EXCLUSIVE: Loughborough University Reveal Details of Successful Super League Bid

Of the six successful Women’s Cricket Super League bids, all bar one are located at county cricket clubs – the exception being Loughborough University. How will hosting a Super League team at a non-county venue work in practice? CRICKETher spoke to Jo Emmett, the leader of Loughborough University’s successful bid, to find out more about the details.

Emmett confirmed that – despite the ECB’s initial consideration that the Loughborough University ground would not be suitable for WCSL matches – they are intending to host their WCSL games at the university ground. “Every season Loughborough MCCU hosts First Class cricket against county opposition and in 2013 the University hosted women’s international cricket when England last took on Pakistan,” Emmett told CRICKETher. “A comprehensive facilities outline was included within our bid, and as such we don’t envisage there being any issues with the ground being used to play WCSL cricket this summer.”

Clearly the ECB were impressed with Loughborough’s bid; Emmett sees this as attributable to their “strong background in delivering performance sport programmes”, as well as the “holistic environment” Loughborough offers, in which athletes from a variety of sports train alongside each other in top-quality gym facilities.

Loughborough’s successful bid might also have had something to do with their involvement in the flourishing Netball Superleague (the elite domestic netball competition in England and Wales). The Loughborough Lightning netball team was set up over a decade ago, and has seen ticket sales and fan engagement grow year on year. Emmett revealed that those marketing the WCSL team will draw on this experience, which she considers to be “invaluable for us for setting up a new fan base as a WCSL host.”

It is interesting that Loughborough clearly intend their WCSL team to be fully integrated with their current university women’s cricket programme, with Emmett labelling the Super League squad as “the pinnacle of our development system, comprising students, national and international players who have trained together throughout the whole year where possible.” The intention, Emmett told CRICKETher, “is for a seamless player development environment… Our philosophy is based on running one women’s cricket development programme”.

Emmett confirmed that Loughborough are currently looking to work with a variety of local partners going forward, now that their bid has been successful. In particular, CRICKETher can reveal that their bid was supported by Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport (the County Sport Partnership for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland) – and that they are now in talks with Leicestershire County Cricket Club regarding closer collaboration.

Loughborough’s current detailed marketing plan, submitted as part of their bid, will target students, staff and the wider local community – but Emmett also was keen to stress to CRICKETher that Loughborough’s status as the only Midlands-based Super League team means that they are also now looking to make contact with counties, clubs and cricket boards across the region, and to ensure that all cricket fans in the region “are aware of the opportunities to watch WCSL matches at Loughborough… We are very proud to be representing the Midlands.”

As for what Loughborough might choose to name their WCSL team, that is sadly to remain under wraps for now – but do watch this space!

4 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Loughborough University Reveal Details of Successful Super League Bid

  1. Certainly this gives the Loughborough centre a strategic goal for their programme. Also quite a few of the England squad base themselves near the academy.

    Will be interested to see the marketing strategy as few counties charge to watch their games at the moment. Will the franchises charge fans or is there a big enough income stream from ECB, media and other sponsorship for the start-up phase.


  2. Will be interesting as Loughborough is already overused and is a shockingly bad venue for spectators. Hopefully this will be an incentive to improve this aspect.

    Will be interesting to see how many spaces there are in the teams after ECB have apportioned the players they want involved.

    Glad they seem to have grasped they are ‘hosting’ the team on behalf of the Region and it is not a Loughborough Uni team. Not sure everyone has got their heads round that from some of the press releases.


    • Win Win for ECB if franchise brings additional investment in the National Cricket Performance Centre.

      Think minimum of 4 contract/academy to each franchise plus 2 overseas leaves 5 playing spaces and additional squad places.


  3. Of all the 6 franchises this is the least obvious one – no county standard ground (well nothing remotely like it in terms of spectator facilities), not exactly a county hotbed and no big population centre nearby. It would be hard to find a more different franchise to any of the Australian WBBL examples ….. but WCSL isn’t WBBL or much like it I suspect.
    Even if we don’t know about their players I’d wager a few quid on the branding being purple !
    Precisely what region Loughborough thinks it is representing should be quite interesting because Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire have a traditional antipathy towards each other in most sports and the Great Central Railway seems to be about the only thing they are willing to share and I can’t see any of the millions of potential cricket fans in the western midlands getting engaged at all.
    This will definitely be the most interesting franchise to kick off.


Comments are closed.