Volleyball World nets first betting partner across both disciplines

(Credit: Volleyball World)
(Credit: Volleyball World)

Volleyball World, the sport’s commercial entity, has signed its first global betting sponsor covering both indoor and beach volleyball, a five-year agreement with 1xBet.

While Volleyball World, set up by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, has previously partnered with casino and sports betting platform Stake.com, this was for the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) indoor tournament only, and not a sport-wide agreement.

SportBusiness understands there was no official tender launched by Volleyball World to find a betting partner, with direct talks held with numerous firms.

Under the terms of the deal, 1xBet, which is now headquartered in Cyprus having started out as a Russian betting operator, will receive significant brand exposure at top international volleyball events and on Volleyball World’s digital platforms year-round.

The agreement encompasses major tournaments such as the VNL, the preliminary rounds of which are taking place this week, Volleyball World Championships and Club World Championships, as well as marquee beach volleyball events like the Beach Pro Tour (BPT) and the Beach Volleyball World Championships.

Running to 2028, it is one of the longest sponsorship agreements in place for Volleyball World, alongside a ball supply deal with Mikasa to 2032.

Finn Taylor, chief executive of Volleyball World, said: “This partnership represents volleyball’s first-ever global betting sponsorship and is a response to the sport’s rising popularity. We are confident that 1xBet’s global reach will assist us in connecting with new audiences, driving the commercial growth of volleyball and further promoting the sport.”

The Stake agreement began in 2022 only for the VNL Osaka event, and was later extended for all rounds of both the men’s and women’s VNL 2023.

In volleyball 1xBet is also title sponsor of the top women’s league in Brazil, while elsewhere in sport it has a regional sponsorship deal in place with Paris Saint-Germain, is a global partner of FC Barcelona and the official bookmaker of Italy’s Serie A and a sponsor of clubs and competitions in Latin America and Africa. Early last year, it agreed a sponsorship deal with US mixed martial arts promotion the Professional Fighters League (PFL), designating it as the official sportsbook partner in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

In a statement, 1xBet said: “This long-term agreement with Volleyball World is important to our global strategy to support sports. We share the organisation’s desire to promote volleyball around the world and will do everything to support this idea.”

In addition to 1xBet, Volleyball World this week announced telecoms giant Vodafone as a sponsor of this week’s Women’s VNL Pool in Antalya, Turkey. As part of the deal, Vodafone is using cutting-edge match technologies to track every play, point and performance statistic, which are being transmitted to broadcasters worldwide in real-time.

Nations that qualify through the pool stages will play in this year’s VNL, taking place in Fukuoka, Japan next month. The men’s tournament will run from June 4-9, followed by the women’s competition from June 11-16.

In late March, Volleyball World unveiled Empower Corporation, the operator of Japan’s leading secondhand goods retailer, Kaitori Daikichi, as the title sponsor of the 2024 VNL.

At the start of 2021, CVC invested $100m (€92m) to take a 33-per-cent stake in Volleyball World.

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