After a two-year hiatus, India’s top volleyball league, the Prime Volleyball League, returns to action. The tournament will mark a significant departure from the country’s traditional franchise-based sports league model. The Prime Volleyball League will operate on a model similar to that of top international leagues such as the NBA, with franchise owners also being shareholders in the league’s holding company. This is a positive step for franchises because it provides more value to team owners and investors, as well as fosters long-term relationships and a stable financial structure. Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, and Bengaluru Torpedoes will compete in the upcoming edition of the Prime Volleyball League. Except for the Bengaluru franchise, all of the teams were previously members of the Prime Volleyball League. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Joy Bhattacharya, the CEO of Prime Volleyball League, said in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda that the league may only be played in one city. Despite the fact that the league’s dates have yet to be finalized, Bhattacharya claims that the player auctions are just around the corner.
“We don’t want to announce the dates for the league until we are very sure that we have the situation (pandemic) right,” he said. “However, we will have the player auctions in December.”
The CEO also stated that the league will expand in the future, but for the time being, it will remain a six-team league.
“In the first few years, I think we have six to eight teams,” he said. “We’re not looking at more than that. And then after three years, let’s see where it goes.”
Focus on raising volleyball’s standard in India
Joy Bhattacharya said the league’s main goal is to raise volleyball’s standard in India, and the teams are looking to recruit the best available foreign talent to help the sport grow in India.
“We are looking at a very good level of volleyball players,” Bhattacharya explained. “We cannot compare the monetary aspect of what football or other sports have but in volleyball there are a lot of quality players available. We are also going to have the league at a time when a lot of the volleyball players are not playing at that particular time of the season.
“We have always focussed on quality, in the past too,” he added. “We had David Lee, a two-time Olympian and an Olympic gold medallist playing for us. Out of 12 foreign players, we had five Olympians in it. And this was year one when they had no idea what the league was about. Now they all know how well we manage this. So, we will get very good quality volleyball players. And I can tell you, they will add to the quality of the sport in India.”
The CEO also discussed
“All our teams are looking to create a feeder system in their own areas, whether it’s Hyderabad, Calicut or Kochi, in the long run. However, our first job is to put the league and show people the product and let people see the dream. When people dream of playing volleyball, that’s when it will become popular.”
The Sony Sports Network will broadcast the Prime Volleyball League across India.
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