The finals for the biggest annual international volleyball tournament are coming the United States.
The FIVB announced Sunday that USA Volleyball starting in 2019 will be the host for three consecutive FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League Finals.
“I am delighted that the USA will host one of our biggest and most talked about events,” FIVB President Ary Graca said during an event at the Volleyball Nations League Finals in France. “The USA is the biggest sports market in the world and presents significant commercial opportunities for our sport to grow and develop around the world. There are few countries which do sports presentation better than the USA, so I have no doubt they will be excellent partners for us.”
This will be the first time that the United States plays host to the Volleyball Nations League Finals or its annual tournament predecessor the FIVB World League Finals, which started in 1990. The United States also will be the first North American country to host finals.
The Volleyball Nations League is a six-week tournament starting in May that features 16 countries. The top-six teams following a 15-match preliminary round qualify for the finals.
The FIVB starting this year rebranded the World League to the Volleyball Nations League and reformatted the event to expanded the amount of nations competing for the championship.
USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said in a statement that the United States being the host will potentially help further the growth of boys’ volleyball throughout the country.
“The popularity of volleyball continues to grow in the USA – it is the number one team participation sport for women and girls at high school and collegiate level, and the second-fastest growing boy’s high school sport, growing 15 percent over the last four years,” Davis said. “Hosting the VNL Men’s Finals is a great privilege for USA Volleyball and I believe can be the tool for inspiring millions more young people to take part.”
The host cities for the upcoming Volleyball Nations League Finals were not announced on Sunday.
Despite never playing host to the finals, the United States almost every year has played host to FIVB preliminary round matches.
The United States played three home matches in Chicago during most recent Volleyball Nations League. In addition, Dallas, Los Angeles, Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Reno, Nevada, have all played host to FIVB World League events since 2013.
The United States swept Brazil on Sunday to win the bronze medal at the Volleyball Nations League Finals.
This was the seventh time the United States medaled at the World League or Volleyball Nations League, including winning the World League in 2008 and 2014.