Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], September 15 (ANI): Former volleyball player and Asian Games bronze medalist PV Ramana expressed his happiness as after two-year hiatus, top-level volleyball action will return to Indian screens with the launch of the Prime Volleyball League on Wednesday.
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 organisation 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.
PV Ramana, the former Volleyball player was part of the team that won a bronze medal during the 1986 Asian Games. PV Ramana stated that he is very happy that the volleyball league is going to start.
"We have excellent players in Kerala and the north. And I really feel sad that these opportunities were not there during our tenure when we played. We use to play and come back and we were not known to the other citizens of the country," Ramana told ANI.
"But now this has gone to such a platform where every player will be seen in action and known to all. Above all, sportspersons are not born with a golden spoon. Volleyball players mostly come from the middle class and lower middle class and this will help them a lot.
"The game will go to another level. Look at where kabaddi is now. Players will get some benefit from this where junior players will see them and they can see themselves at a higher level if they played well," he added.
Ramana, the father of two times Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, also stated how he use to watch volleyball games after her daughter's match. "Though I stopped playing in 2002, after her [PV Sindhu] match I used to watch the volleyball matches on TV. It was so amazing to see the skills, power. I was so surprised by the hard-hitting from the backline and frontline," he said.
Joy Bhattacharya, CEO, Prime Volleyball League, said they did not find at all difficult to get the teams.
"We actually didn't find at all difficult to get the teams, because teams who were part of the first season enjoyed the experience so much that they wanted to come back to us," he told ANI.
"Over the next two to three months you will see more teams joining. The auction will somewhere be in December and the reason why we are not giving further dates about the telecast, we just want to evaluate the COVID situation," he added.
He also said this kind of structure, where owners of the 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.
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 and a new entrant, the Bengaluru Torpedoes, whose lead owner is Ankit Nagori, founder of EatFit.
The league will be telecast on the Sony Pictures Network and will be exclusively marketed by Baseline Ventures. Fantasy games leaders A23 have signed on as "Powered By" sponsors in a multi-year deal. (ANI)