Kolkata: A total of 45 players were sold between eight franchises after the bidding ended for the International, Platinum, Gold, and Silver categories of players at the second edition of RuPay Prime Volleyball League Auctions here on Thursday.
With 531 players registering their names this time for the auctions, the second season of RuPay Prime Volleyball League, powered by A23, is touted to be even bigger and better this time around.
With the league, which is exclusively co-owned and marketed by India’s leading sports marketing firm, Baseline Ventures, onboarding Volleyball World as an International Streaming partner, Indian volleyball players will have a glorious opportunity to showcase their talents to the world for the first time.
At the auctions, the teams acquired International players through the Prime Volleyball League International Player Draft, which had a pool of 16 players. The Indian players being picked through the Player Auctions, are divided into four categories according to their base price – Platinum (Base price: Rs 8 lakh), Gold (Base price: Rs 5 lakh), Silver (Base price: Rs 3 lakh), and Bronze (Base price: Rs 2 lakh).
Attacker Rohit Kumar was acquired for the highest bid of Rs 17.5 lakhs by Kochi Blue Spikers, while the 34-year-old setter Ranjit Singh and young attacker Chirag Yadav were bought at Rs 12.25 lakhs by Hyderabad Black Hawks and Calicut Heroes, respectively.
Calicut Heroes acquired Cuba’s Jose Antonio Sandoval Rojas (Middle Blocker) and USA’s Matt Hilling (Attacker) from the international players’ pool. The franchise bought M Ashwin Raj (Attacker) for Rs 6.75 lakhs, and then went big for Chirag Yadav (Attacker) and bought him for Rs 12.25 lakhs.
From the Silver category, Calicut Heroes bought Mohan Ukkrapandian (Setter) for Rs 3 lakhs and Shafeeque Rahman (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3.6 lakhs. The franchise bought Lavmeet Katariya (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3.90 Lakhs.
Kochi Blue Spikers picked up International players Eduardo Romay (Attacker) from Peru and Brazil’s Walter Da Cruz Neto (Middle Blocker). The franchise went hammer and tongs after Indian attacker Rohit Kumar and bought him for Rs 17.5 Lakhs, and then bought Vipul Kumar (Setter) for Rs 10.75 lakhs from the Gold category. The franchise returned to auctions in the Silver category buying Fayis NK (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3 lakhs.
Ahmedabad Defenders bolstered their side with international players Iran’s Danial Moatazedi (Middle Blocker) and USA’s Andrew Kohut James (Attacker). The franchise picked up Middle blocker L M Manoj for Rs 8.75 lakhs from the Platinum category.
Hyderabad Black Hawks picked up Colombia’s Carlos Andres Llanos Zamora (Attacker) and Australia’s Trent O’Dea (Middle Blocker) from the international players’ pool. The franchise bought Ranjit Singh (Setter) for Rs 12.25 lakhs from the Platinum category. Hyderabad also bought Angamuthu (Universal) for 7.40 Lakh. The franchise bought Lal Sujan MV (Setter) for rs 4.50 lakhs, and Ashamatullah (Attacker) for Rs 5.30 lakhs. The Black Hawks bought Arun Zacharias Siby (Universal) for Rs 4 lakhs and Saurabh Maan (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3 lakhs.
Chennai Blitz picked up Cameroon’s Moyo Audran (Attacker) and Brazil’s Renato Mendes (Attacker) from the international players’ pool. The franchise bought Prasanna Raja (Setter) for Rs 4.10 lakhs. The franchise also bought Mohamed Riyazudeen (Attacker) for Rs. 6.60 lakhs. Chennai bought Ramanathan R (Libero) for Rs 3 Lakhs.
Bengaluru Torpedoes acquired Iran’s Alireza Abalooch (Attacker) and Colombia’s Sebastian Giraldo (Attacker) from the international players’ pool. The franchise bought Sethu TR (Attacker) for Rs 9.75 lakhs and Ibin Jose (Universal) for Rs 3 lakhs. Bengaluru also bought Jishnu P V (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3 lakhs and Mujeeb MC (Middle Blocker) for Rs 3 Lakhs.
Kolkata Thunderbolts picked up USA’s Cody Caldwell (Attacker) and Venezuela’s Jose Verdi (Middle Blocker) from the international players’ pool. The franchise bought back Rahul K (Attacker) for Rs 7 Lakhs and then bought Hariharan V (Setter) for Rs 3.30 lakhs.
Mumbai Meteors picked up international players Brandon Greenway (Attacker) from the USA and Hiroshi Centelles (Attacker) from Cuba. The new franchise bought Middle Blocker Karthik A. for Rs 10 lakhs from the Platinum category. Mumbai also bought Amit Gulia (Attacker) for 7.10 lakhs and Hardeep Singh (Attacker) for Rs 6.60 lakhs. The franchise brought Rohith P. (Middle-Blocker) for Rs 5 lakhs. The franchise bought Jithin M (Setter) for Rs 5.30 lakhs.
Joy Bhattacharya, CEO, RuPay Prime Volleyball League, powered by A23, said, “We expected a thunderous response at the auctions after the success of our first edition, and yet it has been absolutely fantastic to see that they have still managed to exceed all our expectations this year. All the franchises came prepared with clear strategies in mind on which players they want to include in their team set-up. It is always exciting to see fresh squads being formed and I am confident the upcoming season will be an action-packed one.”
Tuhin Mishra, Co-Founder & MD, Baseline Ventures, said, “I think the auctions were phenomenal and a great success. All the teams came prepared with strategies and it was fantastic to see how much everyone in the country is getting invested in the sport. We have expanded ourselves this season with a new team this time, and there were plenty of fresh faces who came in for the first time in the auction pool and earned big bucks. It was great to see the excitement of all the franchises at the auctions, and these are signs of a revolution in the sport of volleyball.”