Japan’s domestic volleyball league finished its 50th anniversary season with the 2016-2017 season. The V.League was established in 1994 to replace the Japan Volleyball League. Since that time the V.League has expanded into 3 divisions for both men’s and women’s leagues.
However, the volleyball league has looked at other Japanese sports like baseball, soccer and most recently basketball to determine how it can grow the sport to be attractive as an entertainment event. The Japanese national teams are very popular, but the domestic league play in smaller venues and have a smaller attendance. It would be known as the Superleague.
Originally the V.League wanted the Superleague to start with the 2017-2018 season, but it has been moved the 2018-2019 season.
Currently Japanese teams play very few home games. Many games are played at neutral sites all across Japan, so it is hard to create a home game feel in the arena for teams. Very different when compared to soccer or baseball. The Superleague would like to have teams play 5-8 home games in a season, excluding the playoffs.
Team in Japanese leagues are usually sponsored by businesses, such as Hisamitsu Springs or Panasonic Panthers. Some of the newer expansion teams are not named after a business, but instead as a city and nickname. In the future, the Superleague would like to have the city name be included with the sponsor, such as Hisamitsu Kobe Springs or Panasonic Osaka Panthers. By doing this there is a better connection to the people where the team is based.
The top level of the Superleague will be called S1. There will be 10 men’s team and 12 women’s teams in the S1. The women’s league will be split into two conferences of six teams, while the men will not.
The goal of the Superleague S1 attendance would be 3,000 per game in both the men’s and women’s leagues. Teams in the lower Superleague levels would be targeting half than size or less, to gain promotion to a higher level.
The change of the V.League towards the Superleague will help Japanese volleyball become more professional and help the sport succeed further in Japan.