Rio 2016’s XXXI Olympiad will provide yet more evidence for volleyball meriting a place in the top rank of Olympic federations. That is the view firmly held by Dr. Ary S.Graça F°, president of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball. When asked by sport intern where he sees volleyball’s place in the Olympic pantheon, he expressed his intention to raise his sport to a Tier 1 Olympic federation, alongside athletics and swimming.
Graça, a Brazilian, said: “One of my goals is to leave the second class of International
Federations to join the first class. If volleyball was a big success in London, and in
Beijing it was also good, for sure it will be a success in Rio. Brazil is the country of
volleyball. It is the No.1 sport in Brazil – football doesn’t count because football is not a
sport in Brazil. It is a religion!”
Tickets for the beach volleyball on the world-famous Copacabana Beach and the
volleyball at the Maracanãzinho have proved must-haves for high society and celebrities
as much as for families from the favelas and visitors from overseas.
Graça rightly describes this as the “golden age of volleyball”, with the following
summer Olympic Games in 2020 taking place in Tokyo, where it made its Olympic debut in 1964 and where TV rights for volleyball are the highest in the world. There was plenty to support his case at the finals of the FIVB Volleyball World League, where Brazil were silver medalists to first-time winners Serbia.
Taking place in the spectacular, 15,000-plus capacity Tauron Arena in Krakow,
Poland, in July, several new innovations enhanced the attraction of the sport to spectators, sponsors and broadcasters alike. Using the Hawk-Eye line-call technology and video verification of referees’ calls over block touches increases the tension around key moments in games.
Using the net as sponsorship, real estate in non-Olympic events raises commercial
revenue while broadcasters benefit from the use of the scorer’s E-Scoresheet software. It sends live updates from matches to the FIVB website, meaning second-screeners among TV viewers have access to in-stadium data.
The FIVB aims to make volleyball the “No.1 family sport entertainment in the world” and there is much it has to offer. Whether or not it rises to the Tier 1 of Olympic sports, it certainly provides a first-class viewing experience.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.