Volleyball in the Philippines has grown to rival basketball in terms of the number of fans, the level of excitement, and the big salaries.
It’s no secret that volleyball has a huge market in the Philippines. Ever since the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), formerly known as the Shakey’s V-League, emerged in the local sporting scene, Filipinos have not just embraced it — they have become obsessed with it. The number of spectators who attend volleyball games in the Philippines, whether it’s a UAAP college game or a professional PVL match, has risen dramatically over the last decade; fans regard the local players as celebrities; and the sport continues to grow with more teams joining the league.
Though volleyball is a sport that has been in the Philippines for years now, it may surprise you to find out that the PVL only turned into a fully professional league just two years ago in 2021. And since then, growth has been exponential. But perhaps the most telling sign of the sport’s growth is how much volleyball players in the Philippines earn.
Although teams and players are careful not to disclose the specific numbers of salaries, the PVL themselves have created plans to institutionalize a salary cap, given how large the numbers have gotten. PVL President Ricky Palou said in an interview himself, “We have to do something to level the playing field.”
So, just how big have the salaries of volleyball players become? And what will the new salary cap mean for the community?
With multiple teams competing in the Premier Volleyball League, each with its own success rate, the average salaries per team will vary. However, there are some figures that can help us gain a picture of how much volleyball players are earning in the Philippines.
A PVL club owner shared earlier this year that the average salary of the star players ranges from PHP 100,000 to 120,000. These six-digit figures already show a huge jump from when the league started, when salaries were reported to range from around PHP 30,000 to 60,000. But, it’s unlikely that these are the highest numbers in the league.
A few months ago, Ricky Palou publicly expressed his alarm in discovering that for some stars in the PVL, among them collegiate players making the professional jump, the starting salaries can go as high as PHP 400,000. Some teams may even include cars as signing bonuses.
While no one knows with certainty which players are earning this much, there are some names that many speculate to earn the most in the league, including stars such as Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, and Faith Nisperos.
However, these big numbers may not come as a surprise to many volleyball fans in the Philippines. Given the thousands of fans who pack the arenas to watch the games, the thousands of followers that players have, and the growing number of major sponsors in the league, it does make sense that the salaries reflect the sport’s popularity and come close to the entry PBA salaries of around PHP 300,000.
Despite this, Palou believes that the PVL needs to safeguard the league from growing too quickly. With this, the league is looking to institute a salary cap for individuals and teams, supposedly to take effect for the first time this year. Salary caps in sports are there to ensure that most teams get a fair chance at attracting the best players, which many believe helps the spirit of fairness and competition. The PBA also has its own salary cap.
In all, this simply shows the exponential growth of the PVL. Volleyball in the Philippines is far, far away from its infancy stages. And with a salary cap meant to ensure the sustainability of the league, many young players will be able to foresee a future in this sport.
Images from PVL.