Bravo to USA Volleyball for taking a grassroots approach to building a semi-professional volleyball league in the United States. This is a magnificent business plan to achieve sustained successful, profitability, and a build a fan base through current players and ex-collegiate players. The Professional Volleyball League could certainly develop into a full blown profession league in the United States that so many of us have wanted. The concept uses USA Volleyball’s 40 current regions and creates divisions within these regions. Teams will compete for their chance to win their division and play at the National Championship. A prize pool of $20,000 is already being considered.
There have been a few failed attempts at professional leagues in past decades. Too often someone or a group steps-in with deep pockets and tries to “force” fans to enjoy the game without establishing a solid base of loyal followers. Dropping money alone onto a sport will not build sustained success. I do think the recent WNVA had a twist by potentially developing a fan base through a reality television show, but would it have lasted?
In the case of the PVL, the concept takes volleyball enthusiasts that already play regularly through USA Volleyball Tournaments, and entices those players through an organized division play with a “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. As the interest continues to grow, the pot gets larger and eventually spills over from the National Tournament to the regional level. The organized divisional play should gain interest through a more consistent schedule of play, a divisional championship and the national championship; which in turn, makes it easier for fans to follow, enables them to schedule out a time to watch a match, and provides the same benefits for sponsors. Lasting partnerships should be able to grow and develop through this format.
The PVL will be a great avenue for local post collegiate players to stay in the game and build on their success at the collegiate level. No more sending our kids overseas! Area fans will appreciate the opportunity to watch those players continue to develop.
Honestly, for coaches like me, it provides a great opportunity to coach adults during the non-competitive collegiate season. It will certainly provide a different perspective to coaching.
It is my belief that the National Championship, which has been segregated by junior girls, junior boys and Adults, should be merged into one major national championship. Our youngin’s need to see the adults playing volleyball, they need to have players they get to know, follow, emulate, and look-up to. In return, the adults need the following of the kids and the “star” type treatment can certainly create it’s own marketing and promotion for our sport.
I am excited about the Premier Volleyball League and look forward to it’s continued development. What a great opportunity and day for volleyball!