PVL season 2 to start on February 7, three venues shortlisted

Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have been shortlisted as the three venues for the second season of Pro Volleyball League.

The auction for the second season of Pro Volleyball League is likely to held in December.   -  R. Ragu

The second season of Pro Volleyball League is scheduled to be played from February 7 to March 1, 2020. A total of 22 matches, including the final, will be played in the upcoming season, with Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad shortlisted as the three venues. The full season schedule is expected to be out shortly, with the season auction set to take place in early-December.

Tuhin Mishra, the managing director and co-founder of Baseline Ventures (which promotes the league), said: “We had received a great response from sports fans all around the country for season 1 of the league with 21.6 million tuning in to watch the league on television and thousands filling stadiums across the two venues. With more matches and venues this season, we really hope to substantially increase the fan base of the league as well as the sport of volleyball all over the country.”

Format

Last season, six teams played each other once and the top four qualified for the semifinals.

The tournament format has been tweaked this season, with a Super Four round following the league stage, in which the teams will play each other once, to determine the finalists.

The tournament format has been tweaked this season, with a Super Four round following the league stage, in which the teams will play each other once, to determine the finalists.

About the new format, an official told Sportstar, “The top four teams [at the end of the league stage] will play the Super Four round, [from which] the top two teams will play the final. Which is why you have 15 and an additional six matches, plus the final, making it 22 matches. The four teams in the Super Four round will play each other once.”

Chennai misses out

Chennai, which hosted the league and knockout matches including the final in season one of PVL, will not see the return of PVL this season.

“We are only adding venues; the only reason that we cannot [host matches] in Chennai is because the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, which is the only stadium which has all the facilities for us to do it the way we do it, is undergoing renovation. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it ready in time. Chennai, obviously, comes back as a venue next year. You would have seen the final, it had a wonderful turnout last year. We are very keen on Chennai. Every year we are [looking to] increase the venues,” the official further added.

What could be new in the second season of Pro Volleyball League?

“Some of the teams are talking to foreign coaches, so we hope to see some foreign coaches, and that’s very important for the ecosystem of the sport in the country,” the official said.

Talking about the impact of Pro Volleyball League, the Volleyball Federation of India president S. Vasudevan said, “The Rupay Pro Volleyball League is turning out to be a real game-changer for the sport of volleyball in the country. The league has ignited the aspirations of young volleyball players around the country and provided an opportunity for our players to rub shoulders with some of the best in the world. The results achieved by the India under-23 men’s and senior men’s team at the Asian level over the past year are a testament of the same.”

Chennai Spartans is the defending champion, having beaten Calicut Heroes in the final last season.