Natalie Seaton talks to Sky Sports on her ambitions for London Pulse
'London gives us a great advantage, a cosmopolitan city ripe for a new type of entertainment – we want netball to thrive in the capital' - Natalie Seaton
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 17/07/18 8:46pm
Natalie Seaton believes the introduction of London Pulse to the Vitality Superleague can help push the competition forward at an exciting time for the sport.
Pulse's arrival in the Superleague was confirmed last week with the franchise replacing Team Northumbria in the 10-team elite UK competition.
Former England international Seaton will lead the franchise as chief executive officer, one of a host of former players now taking steps into coaching and team management.
Seaton believes the benefit of a London team playing in the Copper Box can only help the sport grow.
"I perhaps have a different version of what I see as being successful and having been in the game I have seen what has worked and what hasn't worked," she told Sky Sports.
"Being in London gives us a great advantage, a cosmopolitan city ripe for a new type of entertainment - we want netball to thrive in the capital.
Pulse join Superleague for 2019
London Pulse to replace Team Northumbria in 2019 Vitality Superleague
"We have a strong identity about the Pulse way and what we can do and achieve but we want that to compliment the teams that are out there and help everyone push netball."
It is an interesting concept, the introduction of three new franchises a couple of years ago saw the sport take its first tentative steps to a move away from the university culture.
Severn Stars, UWS Sirens and Wasps all joined the league and have set about changing the way the game is seen as franchises strive to move netball into a professional era.
Wasps have been the success story on the court, winning back-to-back Superleague titles, but Seaton believes each franchise has the take their opportunity to make the sport relevant.
"While we want to win it is not just about Pulse, there are times when it is about the whole sport, we all want the World Cup to be a resounding success as that trickles down," she adds.
"We want events that engage with the community, get people into the arena as well as create good revenue - we want to transcend the netball communities and continue what we have started in London and into new markets.
"We want to be successful on the court but also commercially successful and that does not mean just going out to make a lot of money, it's about being professional and being able to support our athletes and allow girls to go on and become professional sports stars."
We are pleased to confirm that London Pulse will be part of the VNSL in 2019. Thank you to all our athletes, parents, coaches, support team & the wider netball community for making this dream become a reality! Hard work, pays off! We are all thrilled... https://t.co/Zqmu8cQb46— London Pulse Netball (@pulse_netball) July 10, 2018
Seaton's enthusiasm is infectious as she talks with passion on her plans for netball to mirror the NBA in terms of being more than just a game but a night out - whether it's dads and daughters, post work socials or a girls' night out with a glass of champagne.
In contrast to Stars, Sirens and Wasps, Pulse do have the advantage of having been around for a while with the youth squads in place, but Seaton says setting out on the road to create a team ready to compete at the top level is a very different challenge.
"It's one of those things that having worked on it for such a long period of time knowing it might be a possibility, when we finally got the call, it has transformed my world and we are so excited about the future," she said.
"From our initial conception of the idea, it's been around four years that really started with our junior pathways so we don't start afresh and can build on what we have got.
"Starting a new team is a completely different thing - it's like started from scratch again with a management team, and administration team and all those elements that wasn't there with the junior team.
"We didn't need that infrastructure but while we were planning we could only say we might have a job for you, now we have a chance to offer those opportunities and it is a case of getting the right people in the posts and the foundations are in place."
Which leads us nicely onto players with Seaton, smiling, insisting nothing can be said yet as the team behind the team begin the task of scanning the netball world for a coaching team and players to put out onto London's iconic Copper Box stage.
"It is about getting the right balance - we could go out and pick a squad of players in their prime and go all out to win," Seaton said
"I want to win but it is also about creating a sustainable team that can go forward year-on-year and be continually successful while also given the young players we have already been working with their chance.
"They might not be ready yet for seniors but we need to start giving them the exposure so we need a blend of old and new, players not necessarily from the UK or have played in the UK - it's going to be a melting pot of everything that we hope we can turn into a winning formula."
With the target of a balance on the court and Seaton's drive to make Pulse a place to go and to be this summer in the capital already looks like being one to watch.
Stick with us through the off-season as we reflect on the campaign, track the England internationals and the latest player movements ahead of a huge 2019 which will feature another thrilling Superleague season and the Netball World Cup.
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