Women’s pro sports in North America just got a new attraction to cheer for with the launch of the Pro Volleyball Federation. The indoor women’s volleyball league is based locally out of Frisco as well as Columbus, Ohio, and will feature eight to 10 initial teams playing in “volleyball hotbeds” across the U.S. But the dinks, spikes, digs, and sets are still more than a year away from happening.
Slated to take the court in February 2024, the federation has founding partners including former Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer, with involvement from volleyball legends Dr. Cecile Reynaud and Laurie Corbelli and Team USA veteran Jenna Rosenthal.
“I’m really more known now as the ‘Dad of Setters’ than a Super Bowl champion, so this is really meaningful to me and my family,” Dilfer, the father of three volleyball-playing daughters, said in a statement.
“The lack of a major league women’s professional volleyball league has always perplexed me,” he added. “The athleticism, determination and emotion of the athletes is so much fun to watch, and the game is so big overseas. I’m so excited to be a part of something long overdue.”
Co-founders include Dallas sports marketing exec
The league’s two co-founders are Dave Whinham, president and CEO of Columbus-based The TEAM Management, and Stephen Evans, president of The Remedy, a sports and entertainment marketing agency based in Dallas.
“One of the paramount motivations for building this league was a desire to treat our athletes the right way,” Evans said in the statement. “We’re proud that we are the first professional volleyball league to provide our players a living wage while playing in North America.”
“We’re establishing a league built on the pillars of viability, quality, and fairness,” co-founder Whinham added. “That’s not a slogan—it’s a commitment. We’ve set out to impact lives and help create legacies—and that’s what really matters.”
League will be run primarily by women
The new league will be run primarily by women, the federation said in its announcement. Business executive Jen Spicher has been tapped as the league’s CEO.
“This is something that we’ve been building for more than 18 months and we are finally at this exciting point where we can tell the world about this fantastic new opportunity for these awesome athletes,” Spicher said in the statement.
“I was a college volleyball player and know first-hand the excitement these young ladies are feeling to finally have a meaningful opportunity to be a professional volleyball player without having to go overseas.”
Reynaud, a member of the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame who spent 26 seasons as head coach at Florida State, will serve as VP of Volleyball Operations.
Corbelli, another Hall of Fame coach with more than 600 career victories, will work with Reynaud to develop the league’s volleyball operations.
Ownership groups already identified in five markets
The federation says ownership groups have already been identified in five of its 10 planned markets. Additional markets are expected to be added “in subsequent years.”
The inaugural season will feature 16 regular-season matches, with 14 players on each roster. The league says it expects to have “a minimum of three National Game of the Week windows on major broadcast networks,” along with a worldwide streaming partner.
Base salaries similar to the WNBA
First-year base salaries in the Pro Volleyball Federation will be similar to those of current first-year WNBA players, the new league said. Additional compensation can be earned based on achievement and postseason advancement, with the players also “sharing revenues with the league.”
“One of the paramount motivations for building this league was a desire to treat our athletes the right way,” Evans said. “We’re proud that we are the first professional volleyball league to provide our players a living wage while playing in North America.”
Catching up with the world’s interest in pro volleyball
“Volleyball is one of the most popular sports around the world and many countries offer a variety of leagues for athletes to participate in,” Reynaud said. “The United States is one of the few that hasn’t had a true professional league providing athletes opportunities to continue to play at a high level after college. Pro Volleyball Federation is ready to establish a league with teams around the country that will support these top athletes and coaches.”
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