After a two year hiatus, top level Volleyball action will return to Indian screens with the launch of the Prime Volleyball League. The Prime Volleyball League heralds a dramatic shift from the traditional model of franchise based sports leagues in the country. In line with top international leagues like the NBA, the league will operate with a model in which franchise owners are also stakeholders in the holding organization of the league.
This comes as a welcome step for the franchises, as it offers more value to team owners and investors, and fosters long term associations and a stable financial structure.
The first edition of the Prime Volleyball League will feature six teams, Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, all franchises previously associated with the volleyball league & a new entrant, the Bengaluru Torpedoes, whose lead owner is Ankit Nagori, founder of EatFit.
L-R: Front Row – Joy Bhattacharya, CEO, Prime Volleyball League; Safeer PT of the Calicut Heroes; P.V. Ramana, Arjuna Awardee and Former National Volleyball Player; Abhishek Reddy of the Hyderabad Black Hawks; PC Hanimi Reddy of the Chennai Blitz; Tuhin Mishra, Managing Director, Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd
L-R: Back Row – Ankit Nagori of the Bengaluru Torpedoes; Dr. D.G Chaudhary of the Ahmedabad Defenders; Deepak Gullapalli, CEO Head Digital Works; Udeesh Ullas of the Kochi Blue Spikers; Neville Bastawalla, Sr. Vice President & Head – Marketing & On Air Promotions, Sports Channels, Sony Pictures Networks India
The league will be telecast on the Sony Pictures Network and will be exclusively marketed by Baseline Ventures, the leading sports marketing firm in the nation. Fantasy games leaders A23 have signed on as “Powered By” sponsors in a multi-year deal.
Speaking about the development, Joy Bhattacharya, CEO, Prime Volleyball League said, “We have already seen the quality of talent in the country; our endeavour is to provide this talent the right kind of platform to grow. This kind of structure, where franchises are committed for the long term gives the game an opportunity to grow in a sustained manner, and that is the best thing possible for Indian volleyball.
Speaking on behalf of the franchises, Thomas Muthoot of the Muthoot Pappachan Group, owner of Kochi Blue Spikers, said, “Our first association with the sport in 2019 was very successful. We are delighted to continue this association with this new structure that is a win-win for both franchises and the players.”
Neville Bastawalla · SVP & Head – Marketing & On Air Promotions, Sports Channels at Sony Pictures Networks India said, “There is a huge appetite for volleyball in India and in fact it was among the most watched sports during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on our network, even though there was no Indian participation.
“The success of the league the last time around, combined with the high-octane action of the sport makes the Prime Volleyball League a great addition to the sports portfolio of Sony Pictures Networks India. We are keen to work closely with the stakeholders of the league to build both the league and the sport with viewers in India,” Bastawalla said.
Deepak Gullapalli, CEO Head Digital Works was excited about their association with the league. “Fantasy Sport is growing at a frenetic rate, and we at A23 are always looking to broaden the appeal of sport both within and beyond cricket. Volleyball, with its widespread urban and rural appeal is a huge potential growth area, and our custom designed volleyball fantasy offering will drive a whole new set of consumers to the sport.’
The League will shortly be announcing the dates for the auction and the schedule for the coming season of action.
In its continuing quest to provide opportunities for both upcoming players and coaching staff, the Prime Volleyball League has also tied up with Piston Des Sports to create a portal for potential players and coaching staff to register and get an opportunity to be a part of the action.