After carving their name on the netball Superleague winner’s trophy last year, Northern Thunder will start their title defence under a new guise.
The club will be known as Manchester Thunder as they look for back-to-back titles after securing their first last May.
The move is put down to the club securing an ever-increasing Manchester fanbase, after switching their home matches to Gorton’s Wright Robinson’s Sports College – dubbed the Thunderdome – last year.
Thunder will unveil their new look in January 2013 as the club, under director of netball Tracey Neville, look to defend their Fastnet tournament title.
Debbie Hallas, director, believes the move will benefit the club, both commercially and increasing recognition as a top sporting brand in the city.
“It made sense commercially, and from a marketing perspective, to rebrand our franchise as Manchester Thunder,” she said.
“Manchester is already on the map for many sporting reasons, now we’re putting it on the map for top-flight netball, too.
“All the players and coaching staff love the new name and logo – it’s a strong brand and image and one which we hope will spread and grow across Manchester and the whole North West.”
The re-branding of the club is fully supported by Manchester City Council, and is looking to working in partnership with Thunder over the next few years.
Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Manchester Thunder are a great title-winning addition to Manchester’s list of high-profile performance sports clubs.
“It’s exciting to see potential being realised at the Thunderdome and the partnership created between the council, Wright Robinson Sports College and Manchester Thunder will bring about continued on-court success, as well as significant benefits to the community.”
Manchester Thunder also announced three high-profile sponsors, including Big Storage, who are based in the city.