UGC at the Netball World Cup – How to Engage Sports Event Audience

Randi Jensen
Randi Jensen
Check out the recent success case of the Vitality Netball World Cup organized in England. The organizers wanted to display user-generated content in the arena during the tournaments. In 10 days 45,851 images were posted with the #ThisIsNetball hashtag. 1,500 of them were shared with the audience on giant screens in the Liverpool Arena.

For the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, the agency Red Sky at Night Events was tasked with finding a way to make the most of the spike in the use of the tournament’s official hashtag #ThisIsNetball. They found an easy solution to retrieve all images posted with the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter and show them on the screens at the tournament arena.

The agency

Red Sky at Night Events is an agency with offices in Edinburgh and London that is specialized in sports presentations, corporate events, outdoor events and private events. For the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, the agency planned and produced critical elements of the tournament such as audio-visual production, lighting, show-calling, fan activation through social media integrations.

The event

The 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup is the flagship tournament of the International Netball Federation and was played at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England from 12 July to 21 July 2019 with 16 nations participating in the tournament. New Zealand ended up taking the gold medals for the fifth time, Australia were runners-up and England took third place. 125,000 netball fans attended the tournament from around the world.

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The campaign to gain user-generated content

The International Netball Federation knew that the use of the hashtag would spike massively during the Netball World Cup and they tasked Red Sky at Night Events to find a way to use all this content and fan engagement. They wanted a social media aggregation tool to connect with the audience in and outside the arena by retrieving users’ images posted on Instagram and Twitter with the tournament hashtag #ThisIsNetball and mentioning @netballworldcup. They had to be able to moderate and select the best user-generated content that they then display ed continuously onto the giant four-sided video cubes that were suspended over the courts. 

The screens were 7.5 meters each and of the highest resolution so they could both show fan images and messages with clarity. 

Image of the screens at the Netball World Cup

To do this, Red Sky at Night Events chose to use the Easypromos Hashtag + Mention tool. The organizers didn’t want a contest, they only wanted a frictionless route for fans to upload their social images and messages of support. There was no problem with simply not using the voting system nor the prize draw tool.  

The call-to-action: “post an image of your netball team, or just yourself in a netball pose, to #ThisIsNetball. You’ll feature in our online fan gallery and your image might even pop-up on the giant screens at our tournament venue, the  M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. Remember to include a shout-out for your national team”, was widely messaged on the Netball World Cup and International Netball Federation social channels. Also, in-venue, the commentators frequently reminded fans attending to tag and upload their images to feature on the screens.  

The agency then needed a way to display the images on the massive screens, and to do this, Red Sky at Night Events used the Easypromos full-screen feature that offers different options for a slideshow of the images in the promotion.

The result of #ThisIsNetball campaign

During the 10 days of the tournament, the app imported 45,851 images from Instagram and Twitter that the netball fans posted with the #ThisIsNetball. Of those, 1,500 were selected to be displayed on the giant screens at the arena during the games. The gallery from the promotion was also published in a tab on the tournament’s Facebook page and on the tournament’s website.

Instagram example of the Netball World Cup campaign

Netball fans posted from all over the world. Netball is massive in Australia and New Zealand and fans from these two nations were especially keen on posting images. Red Sky at Night Events was also able to use the Easypromos moderation feature to hand-pick images of fans attending the tournament to show on the stadium screens. This delighted fans when seeing their selfies beaming down from the giant 4-sided video cube.


We are in no doubt that fans attending the tournament loved seeing their images on the screens. The sheer volume of images tagged and posted to Instagram and Twitter by fans underlines how popular this initiative was. The more we showed these images, the more they posted. 

It worked brilliantly! The set-up was easy, the support from the Easypromos team was first-class, the service was glitch-free, there were no outages. User-generated content at scale and full integration with the matchday experience, this is exactly what we were tasked with delivering. It was a great outcome for the Netball World Cup, a huge success for Red Sky at Night Events, and a big thumbs up for Easypromos.

-Ewan Colville-

Director of Red Sky at Night Events