You may have heard whispers around the courts, been asked to play or invited to attend trials of the potential new game format for AVL.

Volleyball Australia and the States have been over the past 6 months talking about changing the format of the AVL. The grand vision for the new competition is a reimagined, televised showcase of the sport, featuring professional teams with passionate fans – the Australian Volleyball Super League.

Why do we need to change AVL?

Due to several factors, the traditional volleyball game format is not an appealing option to our target audience. In Australia, there is a preference for sports that offer fast-paced, high-intensity competition and entertainment value. Additionally, the traditional untimed volleyball game does not appeal to Australian television broadcasters as it does not align with the typical sports broadcasting model that aims to maximise viewer engagement and revenue from sponsorships and advertising.

Without a format that can be easily understood and enjoyed by the general public, the sport will struggle to compete for government funding and investment in infrastructure, and athletes and officials may not be able to pursue professional careers due to insufficient sponsorship support.

Why does it have to be AVL that changes?

AVL is the only national competition with the element of state rivalry, which the average sports fan can get behind to support. It is also the only competition played in a controlled stadium environment capable of being televised.

Sports such as Surfing, Golf, Hockey, Triathlon and Netball are developing domestic broadcast-level leagues that present their sports in new and exciting ways. This has been successful in attracting new sponsorships and in some cases creating revenues that can be used to reduce the impact on the athletes themselves.

What is changing?

Several changes to the game format are being considered to move the sport forward and develop a product with commercial potential and broadcast success.

The length of the games, the reduction in time outs and shorter end changes. Changes to total points played per game and the exciting “Power Play” could be adopted along with adding bonus points. This will impact the leaderboard and the movement of teams within it, ultimately creating a game where every POINT matters, every SET matters and every MATCH matters.

Trials so far

So far, trials of various elements of the new format have taken place in VIC, SA, ACT & WA.  Feedback was gathered from coaches, athletes, officials and spectators to be fed back into the consultation process for review by Volleyball Australia.

“With more consequences more often, faster sets and more action, the Super League packages the traditional aspects of the game into a supercharged national competition played in venues that engage and entertain. We are very excited about the new opportunities the League creates to grow the awareness and love of Volleyball in Australia”, said, Andrew Dee, CEO Volleyball Australia.

Robyn Kuhl, CEO Volleyball WA said, “The WA Steel athletes are excited to play this new fan friendly format of the game in from of supports and a TV audience. After our Women’s Team won Silver and our Men’s Team Bronze in 2022, The WA Steel are looking for another podium appearance in 2023.“

Volleyball Australia and the States are asking for the athletes’ assistance in promoting the new Australian Volleyball Super League. We aim to develop a television-friendly version of the sport to attract and engage fans. The sport’s growth and success depend on the development of a loyal fanbase, and we truly believe we’ve created a product that will enable this.

All other competitions and game formats will remain in place to provide athletes with traditional pathway and community opportunities to enjoy a more traditional form of the sport.

More information on the new AVSL will be released in the months to follow.