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CVC makes ‘US$300m’ investment in global volleyball

Deal with FIVB will lead to creation of new commercial entity to operate major tournaments.

1 February 2021 Sam Carp

Getty Images

  • Finn Taylor named CEO of Volleyball World with Simon Denyer on the board
  • New entity will initially work with FIVB before looking to partner with other leagues and federations

Private equity giant CVC has made its latest investment in professional sport through a deal worth a reported US$300 million with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

The agreement, which was first reported by Sky News, will lead to the creation of Volleyball World, a new commercial entity that will operate international events such as the FIVB World Championship, qualifiers for the Olympic Games and the Nations League national team tournament.

Volleyball World will initially work with the sport’s global governing body before looking to partner with other leagues and federations around the world. It will focus on matters such as event hosting, fan experience, media, opportunities around data and digital, and sponsorship growth.

Finn Taylor, formerly head of Cirque du Soleil's global touring show, has been confirmed as chief executive of Volleyball World, while Simon Denyer, until last year the chief executive of sports streaming subscription service DAZN, and FIVB general director Fabio Azevedo will join the board of the new commercial entity, which will be chaired by FIVB secretary general Fernando Lima. 

An official release noted that the FIVB, which will be the majority shareholder in Volleyball World, will remain the 'sole, global volleyball regulatory body' responsible for the sport's development. 

“In CVC we are confident we have found a partner with the experience, network and capital to support FIVB in its mission to further professionalise the sport for the benefit of fans, players and national federations,” said FIVB president Ary Graça.

“Volleyball World will boost our sport’s financial growth and deliver lasting legacies for the whole game. Working in partnership with CVC we will be able to secure volleyball’s future and emerge stronger from the current challenges.”

CVC, which previously owned the Formula One motorsport series and was the controlling shareholder in the MotoGP motorcycling championship, was already increasing its activity in sport prior to Covid-19 but has been able to take advantage of an environment where various properties are seeking investment in the wake of the pandemic.

The Luxembourg-based firm last year expanded its presence in rugby union by completing its deal for a 28 per cent stake in the Pro14 provincial competition and is expected to finalise its long mooted investment in the Six Nations national team tournament.

In addition, CVC is part of a consortium set to acquire a ten per cent stake in a new media rights business being established by Serie A, Italian soccer’s top flight.

Commenting on the deal with the FIVB, Nick Clarry, CVC's head of sports, media and entertainment, added: “Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the world and there is a huge untapped fanbase and commercial potential. FIVB and CVC working together at Volleyball World, will drive innovation and greater fan engagement, which will accelerate growth and allow for substantial reinvestment back into the sport.”

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