League One Volleyball (LOVB), the first professional full-season volleyball league in the United States, has successfully raised $35 million in its second round of funding. This significant investment was made possible with the support of notable investors such as Lindsey Vonn, Kevin Durant, and Candace Parker, along with her daughter Lailaa. Here’s everything you need to know about this groundbreaking development in the world of volleyball.
Investors and Support
In addition to Vonn, Durant, and Parker, several other prominent figures have also chosen to invest in LOVB. These include Jayson Tatum, Amy Schumer, and Jordyn Poulter, an Olympic volleyball gold medalist. The involvement of such influential individuals highlights the growing popularity and potential of the league.
Inaugural Season and Schedule
LOVB’s inaugural season is set to debut next year, with preseason matches scheduled to begin in November 2024. The regular season will run from January through March 2025, followed by the LOVB Pro Finals in April. This extended season will provide fans with ample opportunities to witness top-level volleyball action throughout the year.
The league has announced six host cities for its matches, including Atlanta, Houston, Omaha (Neb.), Salt Lake (Utah), Madison (Wisc.), and one more city yet to be revealed. By selecting diverse locations across the country, LOVB aims to bring professional volleyball closer to fans from various regions.
The Rise of Volleyball
LOVB’s success can be attributed to the growing popularity of volleyball in the United States. According to LOVB, there are currently over 38 million current and former volleyball players in the country. The sport recently achieved a historic milestone on August 30th when a University of Nebraska volleyball game broke the world record for fan attendance at a women’s sporting event, surpassing 92,000 spectators. This record-breaking event took place at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, demonstrating the immense support for volleyball in the United States.
Women’s Sports on the Rise
The rise of women’s sports is another significant factor contributing to LOVB’s success. The NCAA women’s basketball tournament championship game this year attracted an average of 9.9 million viewers, surpassing the previous record by over 4 million viewers. Additionally, the tournament also broke attendance records, highlighting the increasing interest and support for women’s sports across the country.
The Vision of LOVB
Katlyn Gao, co-founder and CEO of League One Volleyball, expressed her belief that this is volleyball’s era. She emphasized the importance of building a sustainable and successful league in 2023, and the overwhelming support from influential figures across various industries indicates that LOVB is on the right track. Gao’s vision aligns with the goal of empowering the next generation of female athletes and fostering a strong sense of community within the sport.
The Impact of Major-League Volleyball
Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic gold medalist, expressed her excitement about bringing major-league volleyball to the United States. With over 200 million girls involved in the sport globally, Vonn sees this as a significant opportunity to provide a platform for young women to excel both athletically and personally. She believes that LOVB will play a crucial role in empowering female athletes and creating a sense of community within the sport.
Candace Parker and her daughter Lailaa also expressed their enthusiasm for investing in a league that focuses on community and provides new opportunities for women in sports. Their involvement further highlights the importance of creating inclusive spaces for female athletes to thrive.
The successful second round of funding for League One Volleyball marks a significant milestone for the sport in the United States. With the support of high-profile investors and a growing interest in women’s sports, LOVB is poised to make a lasting impact on the volleyball landscape. As the inaugural season approaches, fans can look forward to witnessing top-level volleyball action and supporting the next generation of female athletes.