Why hasn’t women’s indoor volleyball gone pro in the US?
I asked this question the other day after watching Nebraska, Wisconsin, where a packed arena was going nuts as the women on the court flew around and crushed spikes from 40 different angles. It’s an environment where you won’t miss a second of the action because you’re bound to see something crazy.
So why hasn’t this translated into the US Pro League?
• Brett G. says “It’s really that simple.”
Colleges and college sports are intricately woven into the DNA of many of the towns, cities and regions in which they are located. Many fans of college sports, especially women’s college sports, attend these games because of the name on the front of the jerseys.
This is a tradition dating back in some cases to over a hundred years. These programs represent them and the value they create is immeasurable. A franchise in a professional league placed in one of these communities does not automatically represent and, by and large, represent the same value to anyone other than the owner(s).
It takes decades for a franchise to become a vital part of the community it’s in, and these leagues and franchises don’t have the bankrolls long enough to achieve that goal. Women’s college sports are popular because they’re fun, they’re affordable, you get to know the players intimately, and you root for the Cornhuskers, Badgers, Lady Vols, or (insert school nickname here.)
Point taken, but we have NBA players buying pickleball teams, and the sport is projected to attract 40 million participants worldwide by 2030. Tom Brady can’t wait to bring his money to the middle of the table. I had never heard of pickleball pros and it was never played at the college level that I knew of. And it’s not like tennis is some crazy popular US sport. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the last time a US man won the US Open.
Meanwhile, an estimated 800 million people worldwide play volleyball at least once a week. In the US, that number is 46 million.
Volleyball salaries don’t seem too prohibitive to investors. According to a 2021 NPR report, top female volleyball players in Germany will earn $80,000 to $90,000. Six players on the court.
If anything, pickleball clearly has the right social media influencers to make the sport the 2022-23 NFT. It scrambled to find investors.
Trust me, I won’t lose sleep over this. It’s just intriguing.
• Larry H in Cincinnati writes:
Women’s volleyball is such a fun sport to follow! Both of my daughters have played in school and club for years and one is playing 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 from OH, MI, KY and IN. The Big 10 is the strongest volleyball conference—it’s not even close. Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati was the #1 team in the nation last year.
Professional volleyball is huge in Europe, Turkey, Brazil and, increasingly, China. The best players in the world can earn $1 million a year.
I guess the lack of interest here is because it is mainly a women’s sport. There isn’t a big market for those in the US. So unless you or your kids play, most people don’t know much about it. I encourage you to check it out!
• Mark B. in Northern California writes:
I have a friend whose daughter is playing college volleyball and has been playing professionally in Europe for the past 3-4 years. She seems to be having a great time not only playing but also seeing the world. Stadiums get good attendance and have some TV exposure.
It got me thinking about what sports women compete in are great to watch. I’m sure watching women’s volleyball is worth the time. The speed and agility of the players is amazing. Also, teams have different cheers for all “kills”, “aces” and other actions on the court. It’s not like a normal volleyball game with beers on the beach.
Another women’s sport worth watching is Olympic figure skating. The ratings prove it, but the beauty and grace of women’s figure skating makes it worth the time and distraction compared to men’s. You can even put women’s gymnastics in there. For the same reason as figure skating. It is very “pretty” to look at.
What other sports that Caps Nation women play are worth watching or attending?
Reading screencaps has become a daily ritual and appreciate the variety of discussions.
• John wrote in SD:
Volleyball is very popular in Puerto Rico with professional men’s and women’s teams. Kids grow up playing VB from grade school to HS. The women’s teams (and I believe the men’s) are allowed to have 50% Puerto Rican and 50% international (or American) players, mainly NCAA graduates, many from the West Coast. It’s a great combination when seen live and the sites do not disappoint!
There are a lot of US girls playing in PR who don’t/don’t play in Europe or South Korea. Here is a hint:
• Randy Lee wrote:
Obviously love your work otherwise I wouldn’t be reading or responding to a topic.
Tried women’s pro volleyball. My college volleyball coach (I played at an NAIA school north of Chicago, because 5′ 10′ is not the desired height for men, even weaklings), had a group of investors in WPV (Women’s Professional Volleyball) 20 years ago. It lasted all of one season with very little interest. As a sound guy I played hip-hop in the late 90’s so maybe that’s my fault. International teams also competed to attract and captivate the audience. I’ll send pictures of the memories I have, but it’s in my parents’ basement because they were depression era kids and don’t throw anything that goes down the stairwell,
Now I’m glad I didn’t toss some of that stuff out but I also couldn’t imagine a community like Screencaps and it needed to be revived.
This community never ceases to amaze.
Keep doing God’s work by uniting us, we need it until November 8th.
• Mike T. in Akron, OH writes:
Great point about Pro League!
A better question is why is volleyball not the NCAA’s marquee sport for women?
Imagine a volleyball tournament similar to March Madness. It sells 20k sectors.
Halloween on the beach at the world’s largest cocktail party
• Sam L. Went to the beach and started snapping photos before the Florida-Georgia game:
Random thoughts and cocktail party memories
• Mark in Frisco, Texas writes:
Good morning! I haven’t emailed in a while, but have been consistent with check-ins. A comment and quick article on the butt question. First, any time you cook meat, the fat side should be on top. It renders down into the meat and makes a juicier cut. Regarding the vinegar question, the answer is always what the wife likes. Happy wife, happy life.
The suggestion of a cocktail party brought back some strong memories. I went to WLOCP back in 2001. It was the first weekend of full flight service since 8/11. Our flight to Jacksonville was packed with game goers, drinking heavily and hoping loudly that someone would try to hijack our flight. Lots of red, white and blue on display. I realized that we don’t need to worry about America’s soul. A must see gameday experience. Just a wonderful time, and I didn’t have a dog(or dog) on the hunt, so I focused on the beers, the scenery, and making new friends. It will always be a cocktail party, no matter how many Karens try to change it.
Keep doing what you do. I will be in Lubbock for the Texas Tech vs Baylor game (me, Tech, wife, Baylor). Tone Locke is playing a pregame tailgate, so looking forward to drinking some funky cold Medina.
Attack the pillows
This week we learned that pillows are the only subject type that can drive emails from the Screencaps community.
• Matt & the Cat in PA wrote:
Admittedly I’m not really a pillow person, I hate seeing them on couches and beds. But this is my current state. Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe it’s because I like comfort, I’m moderately shy, and the three blues in the middle are from my pillow person!
For those who feel the need to watch Mike T.’s calorie intake while in Europe
• Mike T. has this message:
Thanks to the team’s concern about calories and cholesterol on the trip. Yes it’s a concern, but the tour guide Cindy makes me walk at least 10k steps a day. The real problem is Munich and schnitzel and beer. That’s heaven!
Sitting on my new VRBO patio sipping vino getting ready to go to cassoulet tonight
More from the world of tipping
• Alex R. in Raleigh, NC wrote:
Did not bring another angle on the issue of tipping. In a typical situation where you have a waiter and they seat you, you order, get your food, then you pay and tip. I usually consider the performance of the server and how good the food is.
These days when you go to the counter order and pay you are asked to tip after you pay the food and service will be good and how do you know they deserve a tip.
Even worse if you choose not to tip, they now know before they prepare your food. When the ticket pops up on the back it doesn’t say “No tip” in big letters so how do we know because the kid who prepares your food knows that and now he knows to screw up your food or not do it right.
Does it confuse you?
That’s enough to think about on a Saturday morning. I’m running a little behind because I took the kids to breakfast, so wrap it up. I have to get out and blow leaves and buy Powerball tickets.
Have a great weekend.
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