Ashwal Rai, Karthik A and Jerome Vinith were acquired for the highest bids (Rs. 15 lakh) by Kolkata Thunderbolts, Kochi Blue Spikers and Calicut Heroes respectively in the Prime Volleyball Auction in Kochi on Tuesday. A total of 24 players in the Platinum and Gold categories went under the hammer in the first session of the day as the seven franchises – the Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, Bengaluru Torpedoes and the Kolkata Thunderbolts vied for the best talent. Over 300 players in the U-21, Silver and Bronze categories will be up for grabs for the franchises in the second session of the day. Each of the franchises can select a total of 14 players for their squads, include 12 Indian and 2 international players.

While the Indian players were picked through the Player Auction, the teams acquired international players through the Prime Volleyball League International Player Draft, which had a pool of 14 players.

The Calicut Heroes acquired international players – Aaron Koubi from France (Attacker), American David Lee (Blocker) and Indian players – Ajithlal C (Attacker – Rs. 8.5 lakh) and Jerome Vinith (Universal – Rs. 15 lakh).

Kochi Blue Spikers picked up international players Colton Cowell (Attacker) and Cody Caldwell (Attacker) from USA and Indian players Deepesh Kumar Sinha (Blocker – Rs. 10.75 lakh) and Karthik A (Blocker – Rs. 15 lakh).

Ahmedabad Defenders bolstered their side with American Ryan Meehan (Blocker), Rodrigo Villalboa from Argentina (Attacker) and Indians Muthusamy (Setter – Rs. 10 lakh), Hardeep Singh (Attacker – Rs. 4.4 lakh), Shon T John (Attacker – 7.25 lakh), Manoj LM (Middle Blocker – Rs. 7.25 lakh) and Prabakaran P (LIBERO – Rs. 4 lakh).

Hyderabad Black Hawks acquired Luis Antonio Arias Guzman from Venezuela (Universal), Henry Bell from Cuba (Attacker) and Indian players Hariharan V (Setter – Rs. 15 lakh), Vipul Kumar (Setter – Rs. 4.5 lakh), Rohit Kumar (Attacker – Rs. 5.3 lakh) and Amit Gulia (Attacker – Rs. 10 lakh).

Chennai Blitz picked up Fernando David Gonzalez Rodriguez from Venezuela (Attacker), Bruno Da Silva from Brazil (Attacker) and Indian players Akhin GS (Middle Blocker – Rs. 9.75 lakh), Naveen Raja Jacob (Attacker – Rs. 8 lakh), Ukkrapandian Mohan (Setter – Rs. 7.75 lakh), GR Vaishnav (Middle Blocker – Rs. 4 lakh),

Bengaluru Torpedoes acquired Noah Taitano from USA (Universal), Kyle Friend also from USA (Attacker) and Indian players Ranjit Singh (Setter – Rs. 4.4 lakh), Pankaj Sharma (Attacker – Rs. 7.5 lakh), Lavmeet Katariya (Middle Blocker – Rs. 4.6 lakh), Rohith P (Middle Blocker – Rs. 7.5 lakh) and B Midhun Kumar (LIBERO – Rs. 5.6 lakh)

Kolkata Thunderbolts picked up Matthew August from USA (Blocker), Ian Satterfield also from USA (Universal) and Indian players Vinit Kumar (Universal – Rs. 8.75 lakh) and Ashwal Rai (Middle Blocker – Rs. 15 lakh).

Joy Bhattacharya, CEO, Prime Volleyball League said, “It’s been absolutely fantastic to see the franchises construct their squads for the Prime Volleyball League. Getting off to a good start is always important and we are ecstatic with the way the events have unfolded today. All the franchises have picked their squads smartly and there’s still some more players to be acquired in the next session.”

The Prime Volleyball League will be telecast on the Sony Pictures Network and is exclusively marketed by Baseline Ventures, the leading sports marketing firm in the nation. RuPay, the first-of-its-kind Global Card payment network from India, has come on board as the Title sponsor of the Prime Volleyball League and Fantasy games leaders A23 have signed on as “Powered By” sponsors in a multi-year deal.

EatFit and Nippon Paint have come on board as Associate sponsors and Cosco has associated with the Prime Volleyball League as the Official partner.

The Prime Volleyball League will consist of 24 games and the League will shortly be announcing the schedule for the coming season of action.