Philippines to put premium on 'fan experience' in AVC Challenge Cup hosting

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Philippines to put premium on 'fan experience' in AVC Challenge Cup hosting
Philippine National Volleyball Federation Ramon “Tats” Suzara.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) is prioritizing the fans ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila beginning Wednesday.

With the recent rise of live viewership in volleyball games locally, with leagues like the Premier Volleyball League and the UAAP posting record numbers in attendance, PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara is expecting Filipinos to treat volleyball as their new number one sport.

“Sinabi ko na nung launch ng Alas Pilipinas [na] number one ang volleyball ngayon [sa] spectators sa Pilipinas, hindi na basketball,” Suzara said during the women’s team’s press conference on Monday. 

“Sinabi ko yun few days ago kay boss [Manny V. Pangilinan] so sabi niya 'bakit ang dami naman, 46 thousands [fans] in one day?' sabi ni boss MVP sa amin, sabi ko 'family entertainment sport ang volleyball',” he added.

For the sports official, volleyball is something that can be enjoyed by everyone, as opposed to other live events. From family to friends, Suzara believes that all are welcome in the sport. 

Adding to that, the PNVF has more in store for the fans — including the much-anticipated Volleyball Nations League in the coming months.

“All ages, families, boyfriends-girlfriends, father and mother… It's a sport that's really [na] pang-family.” Suzara said of volleyball. 

“The excitement is there and with all these events ng volleyball happening from next week and in June, we have the VNL, and then we have the FIVB Challenger Cup [sa July] so sunod-sunod na ang excitement.”

Knowing how much passion fans have for the sport, he also underscored the PNVF’s commitment to keep the fans in mind when it comes to their events.

During the AVC Challenge Cup from May 22-29, Suzara said that even more than the players, it will be the fans that will be the driving force behind their decision-making.

“In my experience, the basketball — FIBA World Cup was more on the players' experience but for volleyball, it's the fan experience. Players cooperate with the fans, lumalapit sila, they welcome interviews. So I think it makes volleyball [the] number one sport in the world [now], yun lang ang masasabi ko, and in the Philippines of course.”

AVC Challenge Cup action begins on Wednesday but Alas Pilipinas, which will be bannered by skipper Jia Morado-De Guzman and coached by Jorge Souza de Brito, will see action on Thursday, May 23, against Australia.

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