About a year ago there was an report somewhere that FIVB was considering introducing time limit matches in order to finally, after decades of trying, get the holy grail that is a major TV contract. At the time I mentioned to a couple of friends that I was afraid that this was a diversionary tactic, and that the actual planned rule would be quietly introduced later while everyone shrugged and said, ‘At least it’s not time limit.’
Last week there was an announcement that FIVB will trial best of 7 matches, with sets to 15, at the upcoming World U23 Championships. ‘At least it’s not time limit.’
We hear that volleyball matches are too long, and worse, of unpredictably long. We hear that TV stations want games that can fit into a two hour time slot. But who says these things? They just sort of float around on the wind every time new rules are proposed. It may well be that they are true, but does anyone know where they come from?
Here is what I would like to see:
- The market research that fans of volleyball want shorter matches.
- First hand information from TV companies or executives that they WILL (not might) show more volleyball if it fits into that two hour slot.
If I can see those two things then I will happily concede that we must try to make volleyball matches shorter. In that scenario, my suggestions are:
- Shorten the length of time between rallies.
- Shorten the length of time between sets.
- Remove the unnecessary protocols around the game that add time (10 minutes? More?) to the game.
- Tighten the video review system so that it is faster and more efficient (e.g. review without challenge, time limits on the review process).
If there is actual proof that we need to shorten matches, AND no other way of doing THEN, and only THEN, then we can talk about the rules.
Re spectators – My personal suspicion is that spectators want to be part of an event, not just a volleyball match. See Berlin Recycling Volleys.
Re TV – the Polish league, ie the only league with a league that actually receives money for rights, just added a ten minute break between sets 2 and 3 in order to keep spectators in the gyms for longer and get TV viewers to watch more ads.
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