Volleyball opens the doors to private equity. So also the Italian volleyball is starting to benefit from new investments for over 40 million. In fact, the agreements between the men’s volleyball league chaired by Massimo Righi and the women’s Serie A volleyball league led by Mauro Fabris with the Cvc Capital Partners fund (long in negotiation with the Serie A football league) are in the pipeline. ). CVC had already reached an agreement last February with Fivb, the International Volleyball Federation, which led to the birth of Volleyball World. A 300 million dollar partnership, equal to over 246 million euros, for the creation of a media company called to enhance the rights of the main Fivb events, but now aims to broaden its range of action through agreements with individual leagues and federations.
A media company between the men’s league and CVC
The first national market to replicate the operation, given the excellence of both men’s and women’s championships, was Italy. “We are working to improve the television product and we hope to be able to create an innovative path for the whole of Italian volleyball”, explains Righi. The agreement in the pipeline will lead to the creation of a media company between the men’s league and CVC (but there is also strong interest from the Italian strategic fund). In the newco will be conveyed all the rights of the League to be exploited in exchange for a figure between 25 and 30 million. A sum that together with a significant part of the revenues of the first years will be destined to improve the volleyball product in all its components. The same goes for women’s volleyball, whose president Fabris has been with CVC for some time. The amount collected by the women’s volleyball league could exceed 20 million.
The decline in revenues
A breath of fresh air at the end of a year in which the absence of an audience weighed on the entire system. “Most of the clubs – continues Righi – found themselves in difficulty due to missed box office receipts, about 95% less because after the first few days with a small audience, it was played behind closed doors”. In the 2018/19 season, the men’s Super League recorded 5.4 million in revenues from the ticket office for regular season matches (about 3.8 million), for the play-offs (1.2 million) and for the cups (400 thousand euro between the Italian Cup and the Super Cup). This year, however, the box office was worth less than 250 thousand euros, with the championship that from the eighth day of the first round has not seen a paying spectator in the stands. Missed collections of over 5 million, but not the only ones, as Righi points out: «Unfortunately, many sponsors found themselves unable to keep what they promised in terms of liquidity. We have tried to stop with measures requested by the government, which have only arrived in recent days. We hope that there are no conversion problems and that clubs can access these loans. The total funding we have estimated is between 8 and 10 million ”. Further help arrived at the end of 2020 from the implementing decree on the tax credit for sports sponsorships: «Last year – admits Righi – it was not useful since it was approved at the end of December. This year it is hoped that it can be used to bring in new sponsors. We have problems that we are trying to solve with the government on the criteria for assigning this fund, which is 90 million. We will have overlaps of seasons, but it is a step forward ».
The men’s and women’s leagues have also signed a protocol with ICS and Fipav, for a support fund that will provide clubs with the liquidity necessary to cope with the Covid-19 emergency for a total amount of 10 million.