Jamie Davis: Three-a-side format gives snow volleyball a team sport feel

Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, April 2, 2019 – USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis found snow volleyball more exciting than he thought it would be. Accompanying the USA teams participating in the first FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour event, co-organized with the CEV in Wagrain-Kleinarl, he cheered the women’s and the men’s squads on as they represented their country at the historic tournament. He also took time to talk to and share his impressions and plans.

What are your first impressions of snow volleyball?
Jamie Davis: I’ve watched it on TV before, but it’s the first time being here live. I must say – it’s absolutely fantastic! It’s even more exciting than I thought it would be. The crowds are fantastic. The quality of players is really good, and there are teams from all five continents, which is really exciting, because it’s showing that the World Tour is truly a World Tour, bringing in countries from around the world.

US men in high-flying action during their game against Cameroon

How involved is USA Volleyball with the participation of the two American teams here, in Wagrain-Kleinarl?
Jamie Davis: We have done the selection of the teams, the financing and everything else. We’ve given a lot of support to these teams. It’s new, so we actually have been trying to reach out to find players and put teams together. We are still learning as we go, but so far we are doing OK.

How excited are you about the US women reaching the final of this historic event?
Jamie Davis: They won in Moscow and we had heard that the competition would be bigger and stronger here. In Moscow they played snow volleyball for the first time. Here they played fantastically coming up with the silver medal. I am so proud of them. To be medallists at all times ever playing snow volleyball is just so exciting for the sport. I believe that that will be a momentum for us to grow the sport in the United States, as we see that our teams can actually compete at a high level on the world stage.

Jamie Davis was among the official guests of the awarding ceremony at Wagrain-Kleinarl

How is the participation of both your teams going to affect the popularity of snow volleyball in USA?
Jamie Davis: We’ve been working really hard to grow the popularity and the awareness of the new sport of snow volleyball in the United States. When we first talk about snow volleyball, people scratch their heads and say ‘what is that?’, but once they start watching it and see all the publicity, they see that, even though it’s new, our teams can compete at the highest level. So I know there is going to be more and more people getting involved. My goal as the CEO of USA Volleyball is to bring World Tour and domestic snow volleyball events in USA, so more and more teams can learn how to play and compete.

And how do you see that developing over time?
Jamie Davis: It will not be immediate. Everything new needs time to grow. But I think we will learn from Europe’s experience. We have wonderful ski resorts with huge crowds in USA, so we’ll start by basing our tournaments there. When people come by and experience it for the first time, they’ll see the quality of play and the party atmosphere, and then some of them will want to play. Something a lot of people don’t know, in USA volleyball is the number one sport for girls in high school and in college. It is going to be really good for our ski resorts to bring in new crowds to those areas, which could have a very positive economic impact. Not only that, but the global broadcasting of these events will give our resorts additional exposure to the rest of the world.

The snow volleyballers of the US men’s team greet their youngest fans on the stands at the Wagrain-Kleinarl centre court

So when do you think the first professional snow volleyball tournament will take place in USA?
Jamie Davis: My goal would be 2020.

Beach volleyball is huge in your country. Do you think snow volleyball will develop in a similar fashion?
Jamie Davis: I think it can. USA is an interesting country. Our north is very cold and our south is very warm. So compared to the south, in the north, beach volleyball is still developing. Now we have an opportunity to play volleyball outside in the north, where there are many months of cold and snow, and eventually the beach players from the south will start wanting to play in the north.

What do you think of the three-a-side format that was introduced as of this season?
Jamie Davis: It’s absolutely great! I love the fact that there is a setter in place. I also like the ability to have substitutions. It is really innovative of the FIVB to come up with this format, which is different from beach and from indoor, but still very exciting.

Do you also think it gives snow volleyball more of a team sport feel, which would entice the national federations to get more involved?
Jamie Davis: I think so. It really does feel like a team, especially when you have the four of them out there, with one person on the side cheering them on. And you know you can implement strategy as to when to put your substitutions in, which adds excitement to it.


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