Chennai Spartans vs. Calicut Heroes
8:00 a.m. ET/5:00 a.m.PT
The first season of Pro Volleyball India has been as exciting as anyone could have hoped.
With a shortened tournament format that featured daily matches Saturday through Wednesday throughout February, and a different match format, it’s unlike any league we’ve seen before. Since volleyball and India aren’t exactly synonymous - a player draft brought Canadians like Rudy Verhoeff, Nick Del Bianco, and Alex Bader into the fold, as well as other foreigners like former USA men’s National team members David Lee and Paul Lotman.
With matches a guaranteed 5-sets, each going to 15, and each team given the ability to call a “Super Point” - a two-point play - per set, India’s first Pro Volleyball League is doing more than just hire Bollywood Director’s to shoot promo’s to bring intrigue to the league. And honestly - we’re buying it.
Even without the production - the volleyball stands up. While definitely not a top league, the quality of player is there to give the fans what they want. And the fast-paced games to 15 add another level of intensity a normal match sometimes lacks.
But most importantly - they’re showing what happens when you put just a little effort into the production and media surrounding your event. If you treat it like it’s top class - it’s going to feel top class. From the venue that honestly reminds me more of watching American Gladiators in the afternoon as a kid than any volleyball match I’ve ever been too - to the high-end livestreams being offered on Laola1.tv and Facebook with announcers who (gasp!) actually know what they’re talking about while adding entertainment, it has the feel of a well run machine that is actually making a serious first attempt at professional volleyball in a non-traditional market. Everyone from the FIVB to the NVA should take note.