The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has unveiled plans to revamp its Beach Volleyball World Tour in an effort to secure a sustainable long-term business model for the series.
From 2017 until 2020, all events on the tour will be assigned a rating of between one and five stars. Events with a grade of five or four stars will be regarded as elite level, while those ranked one, two or three stars will act as development events in regions around the world. Each event will have to meet a certain list of criteria to qualify for the different levels of rating.
The announcement is the latest step taken by the FIVB, under the leadership of president Ary Graça, to modernise and streamline its competitions as it looks to capitalise on momentum generated by the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The new structure will replace the current system in which the World Tour is made up of Grand Slams, Majors and Opens and instead organisers will be given greater flexibility in the naming of their events with the requirement that the specific star rating is included.
In a statement, the FIVB said the idea of this new structure is to “drastically increase the number of events in a growing number of hosting countries and create a sustainable business model while providing additional commercial flexibility and opportunities”.
Graça added: “We are constantly innovating our sport as we look to fulfil our vision of being the number one family sport entertainment in the world.
“The introduction of our new five-star structure for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will make the tour more appealing to local and global commercial partners, allowing us to increase revenue which can then be reinvested into the development of the sport.
“We want host cities to be able to have the flexibility to stamp their own identity on their events while at the same time ensure that they deliver the consistency and quality that the world has come to expect from FIVB events.
“Rio 2016 will be a huge moment for volleyball and we want to ensure that everything is in place after the Games to build on the momentum and global exposure we will generate at the Games.”
FIVB said the five star structure will make the hierarchy of the events within the World Tour clearer to fans, sponsors and broadcasters. Events will be granted a star level based on criteria including the quality of facilities, technology and infrastructure, the type of competition format, prize money, world ranking points, and requirements for TV production and broadcasting.