According to ASN's newly released Volleyball Asia Market Analysis 2023,
the future of volleyball is in Asia

While over 50 percent of volleyball’s global fan base is in Asia, only four countries – Thailand, India, Japan and China – dominate the sport’s sponsorship income, accounting for 95.8 percent of the USD24.2 million total. Coming in at fifth place, South Korea achieved just over USD1.0 million, representing just 5.5 percent of the total.

In 2022, Thailand – leading the field with USD7.3 million (31 percent of the market compared to just 9 percent in 2019) – achieved 76 percent growth over pre-COVID-19 pandemic sales, while the other members of the ‘big four’ all posted slower recovery, ending up between -11 percent to -69 percent below 2019 sales.

Despite the prominence of volleyball in Asia, its value is relatively small compared to the giants of Asian sport sponsorship, which is dominated by football with sponsorship sales of USD1.5 billion – 35 percent of the all-Asia, all-sports total. In 2022, volleyball ranked 13th, behind athletics, badminton and table tennis, while football, cricket, motorsports and basketball led the field.

Nevertheless, the Women’s Volleyball Nations League – which came to Thailand, Japan, China, and South Korea in June this year – is expected to have a substantial impact on volleyball's sponsorship profile. Indeed, it is the success of the Thai women’s national volleyball team that has catapulted Thailand into the top spot. The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) organisers, who have backed up their conviction by investing in a strategic alliance with the Asian Volleyball Confederation, are convinced of the huge potential for growth in this region.

Currently, financial services is the biggest volleyball sponsorship category in Asia by a long way, accounting for 32.3 percent of the total, owing to major investment by both RuPay, the Indian multinational financial services and payment system (USD5.5 million) and the China Pacific Insurance Company (USD1.1 million). Interestingly, RuPay’s title sponsorship of the Volleyball Federation of India’s ‘Prime Volleyball League’ (Formerly India Pro Volleyball League), was the only volleyball sponsorship deal in India in 2022, while the sport sponsorship numbers in China were distorted by the Beijing Winter Olympics, which attracted USD305 million, just beating football, the traditional No. 1 platform.

Unsurprisingly, RuPay is the dominant volleyball sponsor brand in Asia, at 22.6 percent of all sponsorship in 2022. Est Cola, Mikasa (sports equipment) and China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), together with RuPay make up the ‘Big Four’, responsible for almost 39 percent of all Asian volleyball sponsorship.

While No. 2 Est Cola (USD1.8 million, 7.5 percent of the total) has been title sponsor of the Thai Volleyball League since 2018, the top 25 brands include several newcomers – including Euro Cake, Piyavate Hospital, Firmus (Feihe), Fila, Star Sports, CEstbon and Chuo-Nittochi – who have entered the market since 2019, suggesting the predictions of mounting interest in volleyball as a sponsorship vehicle across Asia are justified.

In 2022 the 'Top 10' brands were:

Sponsor Country Value
USD million
of total
RuPay India 5.46 22.6
Est Cola Thailand 1.81 7.5
Mikasa Thai/Japan 1.06 4.4
CPIC China 1.06 4.4
Mizuno Japan 0.89 3.5
Grand Sport Thailand 0.77 3.2
CP Meiji Thailand 0.68 2.8
Euro Cake Thailand 0.66 2.7
Piyavate Thailand 0.66 2.7
Adidas China 0.63 2.6

As a sponsorship platform, volleyball is still in its infancy compared to the giants such as football, cricket, motorsports and basketball – but the potential for growth, demonstrated by 2022 sponsoring brands, is promising – especially with the coming Volleyball Nations League (VNL). It’s worth noting also that the women’s game is particularly strong in Asia, which sits well with the inherent values of volleyball around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), gender equality and so on.

In this context, it is well worth noting that growth seems to be coming from the non-traditional (for volleyball) categories especially apparel, beverages, sports equipment and FMCG as opposed to the financial sector.

ASN is the leading market intelligence service for the sponsorship industry in Asia, which distributes independent news, analytics and insights on a subscription basis, with a bespoke consultancy and training service.

ASN is operated by Asia Sponsorship News Co., Ltd. a subsidiary of Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd.

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands - acting as a catalyst by bringing them together and maximising the relationship.

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