Why hasn’t women’s indoor volleyball gone pro in the U.S?
I asked this question the other day after watching Nebraska at Wisconsin where a packed arena was going nuts as the women on the court were flying around and crushing spikes from 40 different angles. It was the type of environment where you can’t miss a second of the action because you might see something crazy.
So why hasn’t this translated into a U.S. pro league?
• Brett G. says “it’s very simple really.”
Colleges and college sports are intricately woven into the DNA of most of the towns, cities, and regions that they are located in. A lot of the fanbases for college sports, particularly women’s college sports, attend these games because of the name on the front of the jerseys.
It’s a tradition that goes back over a hundred years in some cases. These programs represent them, and the value that creates is incalculable. A franchise in a professional league, placed in one of these communities, does not automatically represent anyone other than the owner(s), and by and large, does not represent the same value.
It takes decades for a franchise to become an important part of the community in which it is located, and these leagues and franchises simply do not have the bankrolls to exist long enough to achieve that goal. Women’s college sports are popular because they are fun, they are affordable, you know the players up close, and you are cheering for the Cornhuskers, the Badgers, the Lady Vols, or (insert school nickname here.)
Point taken, but we have NBA players buying pickleball teams and that sport is estimated to attract 40 million participants around the world by 2030. Tom Brady couldn’t wait to get his money into the middle of the table. I’ve never heard of any pickleball pros and it’s not played at the college level that I know of. And it’s not like tennis is some crazy popular U.S. sport. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the last time a U.S. male won the U.S. Open.
Meanwhile, it’s been estimated that 800 million people around the world play volleyball at least once a week. In the U.S., that number is 46 million.
Volleyball salaries don’t seem to be too prohibitive for investors. According to a 2021 NPR report, the top women’s volleyball players in Germany make $80,000 to $90,000. Six players on the court.
If anything, pickleball clearly has the right social media influencers to make that sport the NFT of 2022-23. It figured out the buzz to find investors.
Trust me, I don’t lose sleep over this. It’s just intriguing.
• Laurie H. in Cincinnati writes:
Women’s volleyball is such a fun sport to follow! Both of my daughters have played for years, school and club, and one is going on to play college ball in the fall. It is the fastest-growing girls’ youth sport in the US. The Midwest is actually a hotbed of volleyball talent. Most people associate it with California, but many of the best college players come out of OH, MI, KY and IN. The Big 10 is hands down the strongest volleyball conference-it’s not even close. Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati was the #1 team in the country last year.
Professional volleyball is huge in Europe, Turkey, Brazil, and increasingly China. The best players in the world can make around $1 million/year.
I’d guess the lack of interest here is due to it being mainly a women’s sport. There’s not a large market for those in the US. So unless you or your kids have played, most people don’t know much about it. I’d encourage you to check it out!
• Mark B. in northern Kommiefornia writes:
I have a friend whose daughter played college volleyball and has been playing professionally in Europe for the last 3-4 years. It sounds like she is having a great experience not only playing but seeing the world. The stadiums get good attendance and they have some TV exposure.
The topic has got me thinking about what sports are great to watch with women competing. I definitely think watching women’s volleyball is worth the time. The speed and agility the players have is amazing. Also, the teams all have different cheers for “kills”, “aces” and other action on the court. It’s not like the typical volleyball game at the beach with beers.
Other women’s sports worth watching would be Olympic Figure Skating. The ratings prove this but also the beauty and grace women’s figure skating has compared to the men make it worth the time and distraction. You can also put Women’s Gymnastics in there. For the same reason as figure skating. It is so much “prettier” to watch.
What other sports played by women would Caps nation think is worthwhile to watch or attend?
Reading Screencaps has become a daily ritual and appreciate the variety of discussion.
• John in SD writes:
Volleyball is very popular in Puerto Rico with professional men’s and women’s teams. Kids grow up playing VB from grade school through HS. Women’s’ teams (and I believe mens) are allowed to have a roster of 50% Puerto Ricans and 50% international (or American) players who are primarily NCAA graduates, a lot from the West Coast. It’s a great combination while watching live and the sites don’t disappoint!
A lot of US girls that don’t/can’t play in Europe or South Korea play in PR. Here’s a reference:
• Randy Lee writes:
Obviously love your work otherwise I wouldn’t be reading or responding to a topic.
Women pro volleyball has been tried. My college volleyball coach (I played at an NAIA school north of Chicago because 5′ 10′ isn’t a desired height for men, even for the weak side), had a group of investors and started the WPV (Women’s Professional Volleyball) 20 years ago. It lasted all of a season because there was very little interest. Maybe it was my fault because as the sound guy I played late 90s hip-hop. We even had international teams come compete to try and draw a crowd. I would send pics of the memorabilia that I have but it’s in my parents basement as they are children of the depression era generation and throw nothing away that goes into the downstairs abyss,
Now I am glad I didn’t toss some of that stuff but I also could not have foreseen a community like screencaps being a thing and needing to resurrect it.
This community never ceases to amaze.
Keep doing God’s work by uniting us, we will need it to and through November 8.
• Mike T. in Akron, OH writes:
Great point about a pro league!
A better question is why isn’t volleyball the NCAA’s marquee sport for women?
Imagine the volleyball tourney at the same time as March Madness. It would sell out 20k arenas.
Halloween on the beach at the world’s largest cocktail party
• Sam L. went to the beach and started snapping photos ahead of the Florida-Georgia game:
Random thoughts and Cocktail Party memories
• Mark in Frisco, Texas writes:
Good morning sir! I haven’t emailed in a while, but have stayed constant with the check-ins. One comment on the butt question, and a quick story. First off, anytime you cook meats, the fat side should be on top. It renders down into the meat and makes for a juicier cut. As far as the vinegar question, the answer is always whatever the wife prefers. Happy wife, happy life.
The Cocktail Party reference brought back some strong memories. I went to the WLOCP back in 2001. It was the first weekend of full air service after 8/11. Our flight to Jacksonville was packed with people going to the game, drinking heavily, and loudly hoping that someone would try to hijack our flight. Lots of red, white and blue on display. I realized then that we didn’t need to worry about the American spirit. The gameday experience has to be seen. Just an awesome time, and I didn’t have a dog(or dawg) in the hunt, so I got focus on beers, scenery, and making new friends. It will always be the Cocktail Party no matter how many Karens try to change that.
Keep doing what you do. I’ll be out in Lubbock for the Texas Tech vs Baylor game(me, Tech, wife, Baylor). Tone Loc is playing the pregame tailgate, so looking forward to drinking some funky cold medina.
Attack of the pillows
This week we learned that pillows is just the type of subject that can drive emails from the Screencaps community.
• Matt & the Cat in PA writes:
Have to admit I was never really a pillow guy, I actually hated seeing them on couches and beds. But this is my current status. Maybe I’m old. Maybe I like comfort something changed, I’m moderately ashamed, and oh by the way the three blue ones in the middle came from the my pillow guy!
For those who think Mike T. needs to watch his caloric intake while in Europe
• Mike T. has this message:
Thanks for the team’s concern about calories and cholesterol on the trip. Yes it’s a concern, but Tour guide Cindy makes me walk at least 10k steps a day. The real issue is Munich and the Schnitzel and beer. That’s heaven!
Sitting in my new VRBO courtyard drinking vino getting ready to go for Cassoulet tonight
More from the world of tipping
• Alex R. in Raleigh, NC writes:
One other angle on the tipping issue that hasn’t been brought up. In a normal situation where you have a waiter and they seat you, you order, get your food and THEN you pay and tip. I usually take int account the server performance and how good the food is.
Nowadays when you go to the counter order and pay and are asked to tip how do you know the food and service is going to be good once you pay and that they deserve a tip.
Even worse if you choose to not tip they now know it BEFORE they make your food. How do we know that ticket when it pops up in the back it doesn’t say in big letters “NO TIP” so the kid making your food knows that and now he knows to screw with your food or not make it well.
Makes you nervous doesn’t it.
That should be enough to contemplate on a Saturday morning. I’m running a little behind because I took the kids out to breakfast, so let’s wrap this up. I need to get outside and blow leaves and buy Powerball tickets.
Have a great weekend.