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No respect for Volley-Ball

Friday 18 January 2008 by legendary_totoro

I originally planned to release this article earlier in the week, see News section for reasons.

I’ve been a Volleyball player for over 15 years now and I’ve always had troubles finding information about the sport, be it in papers, magazines or TV shows. Nowadays, with the development of alternative ways for communication, one would think it should be easier to get your hands on latest tournaments results or technical articles, but...

The European Championship of Volley-Ball which was also a Qualifying Tournament to the Olympic Games of Pekin just ended on Sunday 13th january 2008. And yet, the information was completely occulted by...your regular mix of wars, politics and people news...

When it comes to sports in the medias, we always get our share of soccer, basketball or tennis. Why would the medias be silent about something like this major pre-olympian tournament ? France engaged a team in it and had to win the tourney to go to Beijin. They were faring very well in prelims where they faced tough competition (being Germany, Serbia and Netherlands). Yet, not even the information that they lost in quater finals broke out in the news....

Oh yeah, Sarkozy/Bruni ’s wedding was SO MUCH more important...
The headlines in sport that day were :
- French soccer, PSG won 3-0 versus Lens in "Coupe de La Ligue", other results of that competition.
- In swimming, Laure Manaudou goes to Mulhouse (Alsace) to prepare for Olympic Games.
- Tennis : some frenchies qualified for 2nd round, Roger Federer is to test the new texture of the floor in his upcoming match.

Nothing about it on webnews sites like Google news or L’équipe, nothing on TV even foreign ones...the only place you could find anything written about it was there, on a small quick news item on the right of the screen (which disappeared during the week). FYI (For Your Information), Serbia qualified for Olympic Games but noone cares I guess...
And yes, I’m a bit mad about it. Even madder since the scheduled broadcast of the match was cancelled without previous notice...

Go there, forget the false number of praticipants and only remember the number of affiliated national federations. So in 2002 Volleyball was coming in first position in regards of this criteria. To date, it’s still ranked 1st and that means, Volleyball is the most implented and spread out sport around the world.

To me it means Volleyball has the best available structure to organize events but also communicate with press and other informative medias. So, don’t tell me we don’t have means to ensure something like the European Championship would be mediatized : the results and all the informations were transmitted to news organizations.

What happened was that any redaction chooses and selects what news items to publish. Obviously, soccer and tennis appeared to their eyes on a higher priority than Volleyball...

Historically, soccer and basketball and tennis are the most rewarding sports in terms of salary for a player. These sports are the ones that generate the most money between TV diffusion of matches, advertising, sponsoring, merchandizing, etc. That wealth soon attracted news medias and we got ourselves trapped into that overpriced spiral.

On the other hand, Volleyball didn’t get much attention from the medias because before 1999, the point system implied long and uneventful matches that completely prohibited TV diffusion. When the rally point was discussed for its introduction in the game, its main argument was that it would be entailing quicker and more lively games, which in return would allow Volleyball to be easily broadcasted.

That sure worked considering the radical change in the physionomy of a Volleyball game but it didn’t reach the main objective in terms of broadcasting and audiences...and the best proof is that not even the info that France won’t have a Volleyball team going to Beijin broke through...

So let’s get to the point.
Volleyball is arguably the 2nd or 3rd most practiced sport in the world but it doesn’t get the attention from media it deserves. The players are models of sportmanship (you never see outbreaks and fights between players, only the captain of a team is allowed to talk to the referee, etc) and doping has yet to be discovered (I think doping for that sport is useless since all that matter is hand dexterity and juming heights). It’s also a very recreationnal game and you see less people fall from drowsiness in front of a French ProA Volleyball match than in front of a French L1 soccer match (see Aimé Jacquet in the Guignols de l’info).

On the other hand, media’s focus is on a sport where referee is not respected, and even physically threatened sometimes, where fights between players often happen and where millions of euros are exchanged each year for a single man’s transfer...

In closing, soccer has good days ahead of him because it’s supported by the mass medias. The day when Volleyball gets broadcasted in prime time on a national TV would mean the end of the mass media system and the start of a new era for sports promotion...


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