At the beginning of 2020, there were no professional U.S. indoor women’s volleyball leagues.
On Thursday, the third was launched: The “Pro Volleyball Federation” will hold its inaugural professional season in February 2024. Investors include “a prominent NBA family” and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer — who has three daughters who play volleyball — was named as a founding partner.
“The lack of a major league women’s professional volleyball league has always perplexed me,” Dilfer said in a statement. “The athleticism, determination and emotion of the athletes is so much fun to watch, and the game is so big overseas.”
The organization will offer significantly higher salaries than other upstart leagues, as players will make between $60,000-$100,000 in base salary, and will get a cut of league revenues. The money is commensurate with what many WNBA players make in their rookie seasons.
The Pro Volleyball Federation stressed that it’s focusing on a traditional league and team structure — unlike its main competitor Athletes Unlimited, which has players rotate teams every week.
- The league will begin announcing teams in December, and rosters in February of 2023 — giving teams up to a year to prepare for the inaugural season.
- In November of 2023, the league will host its inaugural college draft.
- There will be eight to 10 teams, with 14 players per team, established in “volleyball hotbeds” around the country.
- The first season will include 16 matches total.
The league’s announcement comes amid major growth for women’s volleyball at all levels. The youth game is one of the most popular sports among female high schoolers, and the college game has attracted increasing ratings and coverage.
As a result, the professional ranks have grown exponentially with the launch of Athletes Unlimited and a league called LOVB.
Just two months ago, Athletes Unlimited raised $30 million to fund the growth of multiple sports, including its volleyball league — and earlier this week, it scored an exclusive media deal with ESPN for volleyball. LOVB earned $16.75 million from star-studded investors including Billie Jean King and Kevin Durant.