SBJ/20090629/This Week's News

CBA offers AVPers revenue and profit sharing

The AVP is completing a four-year collective-bargaining agreement that will guarantee labor peace through 2012 and offer players revenue and profit sharing for the first time.

The new CBA comes after recent leadership and ownership changes in which Leonard Armato departed as commissioner and RJSM Partners took controlling interest in the league. RJSM is expected to make an additional investment as a result of the new CBA.

“To take the sport to where it should be, players have to be incented to grow with us and take care of our sponsors — that’s where we are heading,” said AVP Chief Executive Jason Hodell.

He said players now earn about 20 percent of revenue, while under the new CBA it can grow to as high as 40 percent of incremental revenue. A profit-sharing provision also offers a bonus pool for players, on a sliding scale. “Players need to feel they have a stake,” Hodell said. “One of the things that’s hurt the AVP was that some players didn’t feel like they were winning, even when the tour was.”

Ryan Morgan, who represents AVP athletes including Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh, said that in concept the deal has been under consideration for years. While the CBA is still pending full player ratification, Morgan said, he expects that to happen within a week. AVP players have been operating under a series of CBA extensions this year.

“This should make the athletes and the AVP more unified than ever,” Morgan said. “The players have some skin in the game, and we have been aiming for revenue and profit sharing for a long time.”

Use of player images also will be more clearly delineated. Under the new CBA, the AVP can use player images to market the tour. Sponsors henceforth can use only “game action” player photos for marketing purposes; otherwise, the players must be compensated for use of their images.

The agreement also allows players greater freedom in seeking endorsements, while still protecting the largest AVP sponsors from potential player ambushes. Every player continues to support the title sponsor by wearing a patch or tattoo. Required player appearances are now limited to five annually, after which they must be compensated

The new agreement also includes a provision for development of the sport. For every $20 million in revenue, the league committed to spending $100,000 on “strategic development and expansion,” which could include everything from marketing to a grassroots youth tour.

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