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Volume 22 No. 7
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Plugged In: Jamie Davis, USA Volleyball

In January, Jamie Davis became CEO of USA Volleyball, a bit of a right turn in a career that previously saw him as president of both e-retailer Fanatics and the now-defunct cable channel Versus. He’s the first CEO of the governing body to lack a volleyball pedigree, and that’s by design. His mission: supercharge the business of American volleyball.

I was looking for an opportunity to take an organization with a solid foundation and a lot of potential to the next level. Volleyball is extremely popular in the U.S., trailing only track and field in high school participation for girls and we are making progress on the boys’ side. At the NCAA level, indoor competition is strong for both men and women, and recently women’s beach volleyball has been added as an official collegiate sport. I saw an opportunity to utilize my background in sports media, marketing, sales and e-commerce to grow this exciting sport in all of its disciplines.

Jamie Davis and beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor with her three Olympic gold medals

On the viability of an American professional indoor volleyball league: We have 375 of our top U.S. players heading overseas to play pro volleyball in some 40 different countries for seven, eight months out of the year. By having them stay home to further their post-college playing careers, we can create stars out of our athletes and build role models for our next generation of players. … With the successes of our national teams, the high volleyball television/streaming ratings from the 2016 Olympics and our membership growth, we are confident that such a domestic league will succeed now when past attempts have failed.

On the time frame to launch a pro league: My target is to see the league launched within this Olympic quadrennial (before 2020).

On attracting more sponsors: We have a great product, a soaring growth in membership and several wholly owned properties with shared media opportunities to vast audiences that can create win-win partnerships. We are going to vastly grow our digital presence and ensure that USA Volleyball is prominent in all forms of media. With this approach …we will be able to provide great value to non-tools-of-the-trade sponsors as well as volleyball endemic ones.

— Ben Fischer