The return of the Prime Volleyball League for its second season has now been marked by some rather big news: The volleyball world club world championship (CWC), run by the world body FIVB, will be hosted in India for the next two years.
This comes with the incentive of having the winners of PVL 2023 and PVL 2024 participate in the CWC for those respective years.
This is a massive deal for a country that has not exactly been in the forefront of global volleyball: a unique chance for fans to view some of the best volleyball players in the world in the flesh. For the players, it's an incredible opportunity to test their skills and measure them against the highest possible benchmark.
It is also a major milestone for the fledgling league.
The Prime Volleyball League arose after an initial franchise-based league called the Pro Volleyball League was started and then called off after a dispute between promoters Baseline ventures and the Volleyball Federation of India. This resulted in a protracted legal battle which was eventually won by the promoters.
The current iteration is being conducted without the aegis of the VFI, with just the promoters and the franchise owners as the stakeholders. The top Indian players opting to go with the Prime Volleyball League was already a clear underlining of its legitimacy, but the FIVB has helped take it a step further. With the CWC, the new PVL has gained credibility on an international scale.
The World Championships were initially started in 1989 and ran till 1993, before there was a long break. The FIVB revived it in 2009 and has since held it every year. There have been 17 editions so far, with clubs from Italy winning it 11 times, Brazil 4 times and clubs from Serbia and Russia 1 each.
Trentino of Italy are the most successful team in the history of the competition, winning it five times; with Brazil's Sada Cruzeiro a close second with four titles. Italy's Sir Safety Susa Perugia are the defending champions.
The current format of the tournament sees the winners of the European, African, Asian and South American continental club championships taking on each other along with a team from the host country/city and a nominated team from North America. Runners up from the European and South American championships also participate. The number of participating teams can be altered with wild cards: defending champions Perugia were a wild card entry in the 2022 edition, which had eight teams.
Meanwhile, PVL season 2, which starts on February 4 in Bengaluru will see a new franchise added to the roster, the Mumbai Meteors. Mumbai joins Bengaluru, Kolkata, Calicut, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kochi as cities that have a franchise in the league.
PVL 2023 will be played across Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi with the final to be played on March 5 in Kochi.