Adelaide has enhanced its sporting pedigree by winning the hosting rights for the prestigious 14th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2025.
This will be Australia’s inaugural hosting of beach volleyball’s biggest global tournaments for both men and women, which will further put the South Australian state in the elite sporting limelight.
There will be home-court advantage for Aussie athletes at not just the 2025 World Championships, but the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the 2032 Olympics in Queensland.
As a sport, beach volleyball was first developed on the exotic beaches of California and Hawaii in the early 20th century but was not played in an organised format until the 1970s.
A decade later, after proving particularly popular on the beaches in Brazil, kicked off the start of making the sport commercially viable.
Since being accepted as a trial sport at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, beach volleyball has been cherished with its longevity accountable for a plethora of reasons.
With just two players per team for the beach format, the marginally bigger and lighter ball than indoor volleyball allows players to close distances and often ends up with eye-catching diving plays.
Format and Competition
Around 1,000 cubic metres of sand will be required to transform the iconic Memorial Drive Tennis Club, home to the annual Adelaide International tennis tournament, into a world-class beach volleyball venue for the 2025 events.
With the world’s leading 48 men’s and women’s teams each vying for top honours, the tournaments each divide four teams into a dozen groups in a round-robin format.
The top two teams from each group, along with the eight best third-placed-sided parties advance to the knockout phase.
When Brazil scooped the women’s crown at last year’s Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome there were 16 million fans online. The Brazilian men had to settle for the runner-up spot to Norway at the Foro Italico Complex in Italy.
So far the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) is leading this year’s best-performing international federation on social media through Volleyball World’s digital platforms.
There’s been a shift in the sport’s global appeal with particular growth of interest in female athletes, both in terms of fan engagement and through betting.
Beach volleyball, thanks to the interest in the Pro Tour as well as major competitions, has been enjoying an increase in coverage from sportsbooks that offer a live streaming service alongside their latest betting markets.
This year’s Beach Volleyball World Championships moves out of Europe for the first time since 2004, which should encourage spectators to try their hand at the sport.
The return to Latin America after two decades, after Brazil welcomed the 2003 competitions, will see the popular biennial event contested in Mexico. The elite nations will be chasing glory across the cities of Apizaco, Huamantla and Tlaxcala from October 6th to 15th.
When the betting markets open it will be the usual athletes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany and Norway who will be the strong favourites. Fans who fancy a punt can always combine two or more single bets for these World Championships by opting for a multibet on any of the matches.
Teams crowned champions in Mexico will earn an automatic berth at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
With artificial courts scheduled to be set up under France’s world-famous Eiffel Tower, fans will undoubtedly become enthralled by the ever-emerging sport.
Then it will be all eyes on Down Under and Adelaide. The state is already home to other major sporting events including Adelaide 500, Adelaide Equestrian Festival, AFL’s Gather Round, LIV Golf, Tour Down Under and this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Adelaide has been guaranteed hosting rights for another seven national and Asian volleyball competitions between 2024 and 2026, under an agreement between the state government and Volleyball SA.
Home Court Advantage
Yet it is beach volleyball that will become a familiar sight in Australia over the next decade for the most elite events.
Adelaide’s hosting of the World Championships will become the most prestigious beach volleyball event held Down Under since the 2000 Olympic Games at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
Following the 2025 World Championships, the state of Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games with Brisbane and Queensland welcoming the 2032 Olympics. Whether home support and playing in familiar surroundings will benefit the Aussie players remains to be seen.