Volleyball for the People, or for Profit?

photo courtesy of McBrooklyn

The pristine sand volleyball courts at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 offer one of the best views in town. As luck would have it, playing volleyball on them is also free. Enter Big City Volleyball and Metro Beach Sports, two city-wide volleyball leagues, and suddenly that privilege costs a pretty penny, even if league director David Walker doesn’t think so.

“It’s actually not too hefty when you consider Pier 25 in Manhattan is $1,350 a team,” he told me yesterday. At Pier 6, a team of four costs $750 for the season, and a team of six costs $950.

But the price is not for naught: participating teams play one pre-season game, followed by eight regular season games and playoffs, all organized by Big City Volleyball; also, and perhaps most important, there is a free t-shirt involved.

A BHB reader tipped us off to this development, and voiced his concern that the various groups of people already playing pick-up volleyball games at Pier 6 might be kicked off the courts to make room for the leagues. Not so, insists Walker, who noted that Big City and Metro Beach Sports will only hold games there on Monday and Wednesday nights.

“There are people who enjoy going down and just playing pick-up with whoever is there,” he acknowledged. “And then there’s people who want to play in a league, where play is organized by skill level, from casual, intermediate, to advanced. And they want to play in a structured league, and they want a schedule created. They want referees assigned. They want t-shirts. There are a lot of costs that go into executing a league.”

In addition, Big City Volleyball and Metro Beach Sports will run youth programs for underprivileged kids on the courts during some weekdays this summer. Metro Beach Sports, along with Metro Soccer NY, wholly funds Play Study Win, a 501(c)(3) charity that provides thousands of New York City public school children with free sports and recreation programming. According to Ian Walker, the organization’s president, the revenue from Metro’s adult leagues helps fund these carefully executed programs. They will also offer a few evenings of free volleyball instruction at Pier 6 for anybody who is interested. In fact, you can mosey on down tomorrow night at 7pm to play a quick game or two, and meet other players or groups interested in signing up for the league.

While the idea of charging people to play volleyball on free public courts might sound like a rip-off, Walker insisted these leagues are not only popular throughout New York City, but have a proven track record of success among volleyball enthusiasts. “People really get a kick out of the leagues,” he added.

So, he ‘s not trying to destroy Brooklyn with his evil volleyball ways? “I’m a Brooklyn resident also!” Walker, who lives near Grand Army Plaza, said, and promised, “We’re value added for the area.”

Big City Volleyball and Metro Beach Sports require players be 21 years of age and older. Beginning July 20th, games at Pier 6 will be held Monday and Wednesday nights at 7pm & 10pm. Teams are co-ed, and may consist of four or six people. For more information or to sign up, click here.

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  • ABC

    how much does the park get out of that fee?

    .. and that t-shirt ain’t free.

  • resident

    This is pretty standard. Parks are used city wide for league football, basketball, soccer, softball, kickball, etc. That’s really one of the reasons these types of facilities are built. Pickup games are great, and will certainly continue to happen in all sports in most parks in the city. But, providing leagues with time and space (yes, usually for a fee) assures a greater usage rate of the park.

  • Anon

    Typical bait and switch. Community cries for recreational opportunities. They ditch the pools. They eliminate the basketball and other ball courts; they defer the ice rink. Spend all the money on landscaping but tell us we WILL have volleyball. Then they charge for it. This “park” is a sham, plain and simple.

  • BklynBread

    The courts already see a high usage so I’m not sure what the value of adding a league is. Go down there any week night and especially weekends and you’ll see all three courts being used and often with a wait list. The line that the volleyball community would rather pay to have a ref and t-shirts is bull. Volleyball players in the city are constantly looking for spaces to play without the cost and red tape of a league. I know many that come to these courts thought this would be it. Perhaps metro beach and big city should wait till the popularity of these courts die down before setting up a league here.

  • resident

    I have seen the courts being in full use on the weekend, and it clearly doesn’t need a league then. Maybe you’re right in that they could wait until the popularity dies down, maybe next summer? Once it becomes a little less busy, I can’t see a couple hours on a couple nights a week being set aside for league play to be all that bad.

    I guess I don’t understand the histrionics. Like I said before, this type of use for public park recreational facilities is pretty standard. When (if?) the soccer fields get built, I’d expect similar arrangements, if not a much higher percentage of time dedicated to league play. I also find it funny to see people cry about this when I’ve seen multiple people on this board suggest building a chelsea piers type facility to support the park.

    @Anon: I think you have some of your facts mixed up. The basketball courts are deferred until more funding is found, while I don’t think a pool or ice rink has ever been officially part of the plan.

  • North heights res

    “In addition, Big City Volleyball and Metro Beach Sports will run youth programs for underprivileged kids on the courts during some weekdays this summer.”

    Uh oh…underprivileged kids in the neighborhood…we knew that damn park would attract people from all over Brooklyn…

  • EHinBH

    That’s exactly what underprivleged kids need – VOLLEYBALL!! Yes, that’s it. What a great idea.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    EHinBH, what’s wrong with volleyball as an activity for underprivileged kids? Are you afraid the game will lose its “privileged whitey” status if the lower classes are taught to play? You are probably trembling to think whats next, Tennis? or god forbid Racquetball and Squash, no not that WAAAAAA.

  • sandy

    How about some senior leagues…

  • philica

    THANK YOU Arch Stanton…. coming from a former underprivileged kid who happens to love volleyball. Sheesh. Some people.

  • EHinBH

    What IN THE WORLD is underprivileged?? My father was an auther and never made two nickles. We played on the street, which are a heck of a lot safer now than back then. We DID NOT feel that taxperyers needed contribute to my learning how to play a game in the sand and increase the deficit so I could get ‘fresh air.’

  • North heights res

    And perhaps, EHinBH, that’s why you’ve turned out to be the hateful human being that you represent yourself to be here.

    Maybe a little more kindness and fresh air as a child would have instilled in you a modicum of consideration, acceptance and compassion for others who aren’t lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of living in this fine neighborhood.

  • resident

    I don’t find it hard to imagine EHinBH would call the cops if he/she saw any kids that could benefit from this program playing on his/her street.

    And where does it say anything about tax payers funding the program? It’s being run by a charity.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    EHinBH, Underprivileged kids getting fresh air are not responsible for “increasing the deficit” Greedy privileged pigs (such as yourself) who raped and pillaged the economy with their Wall Street chicanery and the Washington puppets, are responsible. Cheapskate.

  • ABC

    I find the whole “In addition, Big City Volleyball and Metro Beach Sports will run youth programs for underprivileged kids on the courts during some weekdays this summer” so rude.

    Let me translate: we’ll take the free volleyball parks, make them for-pay and reserve “some weekdays this summer” for poor kids and expect a pat on the back.

  • resident

    ABC, how often do you use these sports recreational facilities in public parks? You seem completely unaware that this is very normal if not the expectation. From the softball fields on the great lawn, to the soccer fields on Randall’s Island to “the cage” on W. 4th and 6th Ave. and any number of lesser known parks all across the city, the parks department rents out sports facilities for league play.

    Maybe it’s not an immediate necessity if the courts really are in constant use in the evenings, but the fact that they’ve been reserved two nights a week is truly no big deal. Some time down the line, the volleyball leagues will contribute to greater use of the facilities and provide an income stream, even if it’s very small.

  • WillowtownCop

    There are three courts- why not have one for league play and two for the public?

  • EHinBH

    Thanks for the complement, Arch. I came from nothing and worked my backside off doing 75 hour weeks for years in one of the most complicated and rewarding industries in the world. I paid my own way through college, give a tremendous amount to charity, have good friends and family, pay an extraordinary share of taxes, and yes, will fight to the death to try to keep of scrap of what I have earned for myself. If that makes me a pillager, so be it. But it is you, my sorry little friend, that are the greedy pig. You respresent all the discusting fools that believe they are entitled to something for nothing. It is your kind that can make cities such as ours turn in to cesspool in less than a decade. Comment all you like – say what you will. I will never again comment on what YOU have to say.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Dear EHinBH, You’ll never again comment on what I have to say, Great, I want you to shut the f up.
    BTW, I don’t think I’m entitled to something for nothing, came from a underprivileged background, have paid plenty of taxes and worked many 80 + hr weeks. but I don’t mind some of my money going to enlighten kids from the ghetto. you are the pig.

  • Mickey

    Arch & EH: Maybe you should settle your differences with a friendly game of volleyball. I could suggest a nice park by the river.

    Either way, when the rhetoric degenerates to “shut the f up” I think it’s time to take a step back & cool off.

    Granted, it’s great theatre for some of us; but I don’t think either of you are going to win the argument with the current venomous tones.

  • BklynBread

    @WillowtownCop I think that’s a great idea. This way people who come down on nights with league play won’t be turned away. I think it maybe a logistical nightmare for big city to organize but I think it’s a fair compromise while the courts are seeing so much traffic.

  • BklynBread

    @Resident why are you so interested in seeing a league setting up here? I would agree with you that setting up a league is a great way to increase usage of the park. But the courts are already very popular.
    I’ll come clean, I’m a huge participant of the courts and I’m out there a lot on week nights. It’s a great addition to the neighborhood and have met some great people. I just don’t want anyone to be turned away because they couldn’t afford the league fee. Also it may only be two nights a week but owning all three courts does not seem fair. Like WillowTownCop suggested perhaps the league could use one court or like i said before wait till the success of the courts die down.

  • BHer

    Agree with ABC… plenty of leagues make a ton of money doing little more than organize games on city parks and facilities that are paid for with tax dollars.

    Leagues should pay a fee to support the parks and also be limited in the court time allowed so they don’t monopolize our parks.

    Funny, these guys say they give back to the ‘underprivileged’ and all of a sudden we forget they’re making money off public assets. It’s great that they provide the service, but there needs to be a balance

  • David on Middagh

    Well, how nice to see the beautiful picture at the top of this thread once more! How long has it been, six weeks?