The other day WorldofVolley posted comments from Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende (Bernardinho) on the subject of the FIVB potentially implementing time limits in volleyball. The idea is to fit matches into the classic 2 hour time block (1:45 of match time). This is most definitely not the first time the global governing body has addressed this issue. It’s something I myself commented on not that long ago.
I have a big question as to whether there is a legitimate need to fit in to that TV window. Football in the US runs about 3 hours. Baseball games are considered short if they are under about 2.5 hours. Basketball and hockey are both better than 2 hours in run time on average.
Here’s what Bernardinho had to say on the subject:
“I just have the feeling that they think too much about the entertainment, and they think very little about the main thing – about players and about the essence of volleyball.”
The “they” in this case is the FIVB.
I can understand Coach’s viewpoint here. Those of us who have been in the game for a while have seen a lot of changes over the years. Some of them have been bigger than others. It can certainly be annoying to have to adapt to new rules all the time
I have two questions for Bernardinho, though.
First, what is “the essence of volleyball”? We need to have that defined before we can determine whether the FIVB thinks sufficiently about it or not.
Second, if the FIVB is the organization responsible globally for growing and promoting the sport, is not entertainment high on their list of priorities? To quote Wikipedia:
“Part of the FIVB’s activities in this area consists in attracting media partners and sponsors through negotiation of commercial rights for broadcasting and coverage of major events.”
In order to do these things they have to think a lot about entertainment – both in terms of the sport itself and in how events are run.
Volleyball ranks very high in terms of participation globally. I saw something recently which suggested it’s at #2, though I haven’t been able to dig that up (Interestingly, the USA is nowhere near the top of the country list in terms of adult participation rates). Unfortunately, volleyball is well down the list when it comes to viewership and commerciality. That’s a gap which I’m sure everyone in the sport would like to see bridged.