July 2, 2012

Professional Indoor Volleyball in the USA

I had missed the announcement by USA Volleyball of the newly created Premier Volleyball League - http://usavolleyball.org/news/article/46126

As long time VolleyFans of collegevolleyballcoach.com know, I have not been hesitant to criticize large volleyball organizations.  I believe there is so much more all of us could be doing for our great sport, and my barbs are especially pointed for those groups which are in the position of influence.

But, I also want to acknowledge when a positive move is made.  It is great that USA Volleyball stepping outside the box, and creating something positive for our sport.

Unlike the National Team, which we only see when it comes to town (if it hits a local area) or once every four years on TV (called the Olympics), the PVL has the potential to demonstrate elite level, post collegiate volleyball within an 'in-touch' environment.  Collegiate players who wish to continue playing at an elite level, now can without having to relocate halfway across the world.  With the league being calendared away from the collegiate season, it will allow top level indoor volleyball to be viewed by VolleyFamilies (and eventually, hopefully, wish upon a star, the media) for more than 3 months a year!

As I am in Iowa now, I will steal from a movie - They built it, and now we need to go.  As VolleyFamilies and Fans, it is our responsibility to empower the success of the PVL.  USA Volleyball is being smart about taking the slow growth mentality, and allowing each Region to develop a team based upon its comfort zone.

We can empower the success of the PVL by going to watch them - Plain and simple, we need to get our backsides into the stands when a PVL match is going on.  We need to be contacting the Regional Office to find out when the PVL team may be playing.  If you read the release, the next step of the PVL is to have local matches, in addition to the year end tournament.

The biggest support we can give to the PVL, and to what I believe is a great opportunity for indoor professional volleyball in the USA, is to be there.  Show our support by showing up.  Nothing makes a statement to television and potential sponsors/advertisers than seeing the stands full of people.

I say this from experience; when I was playing on the AVP tour in the glory days of the 90's, the tour was attractive to sponsors and television because it was packed full of people.  People did not come after television and Miller Lite showed up (well, maybe after the beer started flowing), they were there long before.  When television assistants and corporate marketing people came to evaluate a tournament and saw thousands of people watching play, it made an impression.

When individuals and companies outside of the Volleyball Family go to evaluate the PVL, they need to see the stands full, they need to see young families (the most sought after demographic), they need so hear the applause and enthusiasm.

I congratulate USA Volleyball for creating this opportunity, and I loudly state that we need to make it successful by being there!

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

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