Watch our latest ESPN broadcast HERE

News & Updates

February 6, 2024

Updates for the 2024 Season (pt. 1)

As the sport of roundnet grows, we are increasingly impressed with the level of competition across all levels. With each year, we want to take time to reflect on the past season of roundnet to see where we can improve to grow roundnet from the bottom to the top levels. The following updates pertain to Open Pro, Women’s Pro, Mixed Pro, and points.

 

The Top Divisions

As the Spikeball Tour Series has evolved over the years, we have seen a few changes in how the top division is structured. In 2017, the Premier division was introduced as a way to separate the top talent from the average level players who weren’t ready to compete with those at that top level. Throughout 2017 and 2018, it became apparent that an even further separation was needed to get the best competition possible at the season capping event: the 2018 National Championship. The 2018 National Championship was the first ever introduction of the Pro Division.

The Pro Division would then be the marquee piece to the 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023 National Championships / Spikeball Tour Series Championships. In 2022, we introduced the 4-team Mixed Pro division, which expanded to 8 teams in 2023. 2023 was also the first year the 12-team Women's Pro division was added to the Championship.

In 2023, it became apparent that we are now ready for the next evolution of the Pro Division in the Spikeball Tour Series.

Enter: The Open Pro Division at Majors in 2024

For the upcoming 2024 Spikeball Tour Series season, we will be introducing the Open Pro Division at all three Majors. This division will take the top 16 Open teams and put them into their own divisions so that we can highlight the best of the best at each event with more opportunities for coverage, more impactful matches for each team, and a lighter schedule for the top athletes so that they can perform their best.

In order to qualify for the Open Pro Division at a Major, teams will have to be in the top 16 of the teams registered for the event at registration close based on the teams’ combined individual points as opposed to team points like at The Championship. This will allow for the top players to still make the Open Pro Division at the event even if they are not playing with their season partner. However, we predict that scenario won’t happen very often as most season teams will want to play together at these events to earn as many team points as possible.

Along with this change comes a revamped point distribution scale for all Spikeball Tour Series events. You can find that scale here:

 

A few things to note about the point distribution scale and how it affects the Open Pro Division at Majors:

One of our biggest goals with this points scale was to create a system that allowed for turnover at the bottom of the Pro Division between Majors. This way, teams that are on the bubble for qualifying still have a chance to make it at the next Major. That is why if you do very well in the Premier division at a Major, you will earn more points than teams that go winless in the Pro Division. We believe that this will create healthy competition at all levels and incentivize teams to take their consolation matches seriously in order to optimize their chances for qualifying or retaining their spot in the Pro Division. We look forward to seeing how this impacts the points race for the Pro Division at the Championship in the fall!

Women’s Pro Division at Majors

Along with the Open Pro division, we will be implementing a Women’s Pro division at Majors!

To have a Women's Pro division at Majors, there will need to be at least 20 Women's teams signed up for the event. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Women's Pro division based on the combination of the team's individual players’ points (taken from their top 3 finishes).

However, if there are fewer than 20 teams registered, we will combine the Women’s divisions and put the top x teams into power pools again, like in 2023.

 

Points and the Designated European Event

As there is no European Major this year, we wanted to give European players the chance to earn enough points to qualify for the Pro divisions at the Championship so we have partnered with the European Roundnet Association to designate a EURA Tour Series event as a stand in for the European Major. The event that we have selected is ETS Leuven and we have designated a special points scale listed here:

 

We are giving out elevated points that will equal more than the biggest challenger level events but slightly less than the official Spikeball Tour Series Major events. This is mainly due to the difference in event formats and qualifiers for the top divisions.

 

Mixed Pro at Majors

In 2024, we will be moving from traditional teams of two to teams of four players -- two female players and two male players. Registration for Mixed at the Majors will be open to everyone!

Pairings

During a confrontation, teams will break into 2 Mixed teams, where they will have the ability to choose their pairings. Teams DO NOT have to keep the same pairs throughout the entire tournament.

Confrontations

In both group stage and bracket stage, the LOWER seeded team will pick their teams first, designating one team as their "A" team and the other as their "B" team.

The higher seeded team will then "counter-pick," selecting their own "A" and "B" teams.

Group Stage

Group Stage confrontations will have two rounds. For the first round, the two “A” Pairs and the two “B” Pairs will play 1 game to 15. For the second round, the “A” Pair will play the “B” Pair and vice versa.

Bracket Stage

For the single-elimination bracket stage, teams will be seeded based on their overall combined records. Within each bracket match, teams will again designate pairs as their “A” Pair & “B” Pair.

Both Pairs will play BOTH of the opposing Pairs in 1 game to 21. This will result in up to 4 wins or losses. A team must win at least 3 out of 5 matchups to move on.

Tiebreakers

In the event of a tie after the two rounds of play, the teams will play a single game tiebreaker in which teams will rotate a player (male OR female) onto the field every 5 points.

The lower seeded team will be the first to pick the Pair that starts the game and the rotation. Then, the higher seeded team will counter-pick their starting Pair and their rotation.

When rotating players, teams MUST keep 1 male and 1 female on the court at all times. This means that men can only rotate in for a man and a woman can only rotate in for a woman. The two teams face off in 1 game to 21 to decide who moves onto the next round.

Here is an example of setting up for the Tiebreaker game:

Team A - #1 Seed

Buddy (M)

Clark (M)

Ali (F)

Olivia (F)

Team B - #2 Seed

Ryan (M)

Thomas (M)

Kalin (F)

Sarah (F)

  • As the lower seed, Team B selects their Pairs first

  • Team B chooses to send out Ryan and Sarah

  • Team B then chooses the rotation of: Kalin - Thomas - Ryan - Sarah

  • Team B then relays their lineup to Team A because Team A is the higher seeded team

  • Team A chooses to send out Clark and Ali first

  • Team A then chooses the rotation of: Buddy - Olivia - Ali - Clark

Mixed Pro at the Championship

More news to come about how to qualify for the Mixed Pro division at the Championship.

Registration for April and May Spikeball Tour Series Challengers will open later this month, with the other Challengers and Majors to follow.

Be sure to follow us on @spikeballtourseries on Instagram for updates and highlights!


Past Updates

2023

August 29, 2023

STS Official Statement on the Mixed division points from the BC Open in Vancouver last weekend.

We have received a number of questions concerning how we calculated the Mixed Pro Division standings. We wanted to put out a statement to clarify any details so that everyone is aware and on the same page and to be fully transparent with our fans, players, and spectators.
 
For those that are unfamiliar with how the point structure works for our events when it relates to Pro Division standings of any kind, here are a few details to consider. There is a different point scale for events of different sizes and for different “levels” of events. (i.e. Majors vs Challengers.) The BC Open in Vancouver was the last Challenger event of the year before the Championship. We have awarded points based on the 16-team scale for the Mixed division from that event despite the event having 17 teams participating.

On Sunday morning (the day of the Mixed division), there were 16 teams signed up for the Mixed Advanced division. During morning announcements, there was a search for an extra team to play in the Mixed Advanced division with an offering to cover registration fees so that the event would earn the extra 17-team Challenger points. A team was then moved from the Mixed Intermediate division to Mixed Advanced under these circumstances. This is an unacceptable practice and we do not condone moving a team up that is not at the Mixed Advanced level just so that one team has a chance to earn more points toward the Mixed Pro Division at The Championship. While there are no written rules against what occurred, we consider this to be gamifying the system and taking advantage of a loophole. We strongly believe that this goes against the integrity of the Spikeball Tour Series. This is why we have made the decision to treat the Mixed Advanced Division as a 16-team Challenger point scale instead of the 17-team point scale.
 
 
We look forward to the Mixed Pro Division at The Championship and stay tuned to our social media channels on Live Coverage details and more!

If you have questions, comments, concerns, etc. please direct them to tournaments@spikeball.com 
 

July 20, 2023

From Chris Ruder, CEO, Spikeball Inc.

Hey roundnet players and Spikeball community,

We are so pumped about the rollout of MAMMOTH and can’t wait to ship out the hundreds of orders we’ve received! We love the notes and support we've been receiving and see there seems to be some concern that we’re going to try to force this to be the official kit in tournaments (spoiler alert: we’re not) while others have concerns with the price ($299). I appreciate the concerns. That means you care, which is something most companies would die for. I’d like to give a little background on why we created it and what we’re hoping to accomplish.  

While we would like for the Spikeball MAMMOTH roundnet kit to become the standard equipment used in tournaments but, we don't see that happening any time soon. Don't worry though, we're not going to try to force anything through. Our Pro sets will continue to be the ones we use at least through the 2024 season. 

Over time, we are hoping that everyone (players, tournament directors, governing bodies, spectators, etc) will choose it to become the new standard. We may host some smaller, Mammoth-only tournaments next year but they won’t count towards STS rankings/points/etc. You will start seeing MAMMOTH sets on the sidelines at the bigger tournaments so more players can experience it. Who knows, if the players aren't into it, it may never become the official set. We hope this isn't the case, but either way, this will be a collaborative effort!

So, why did we create MAMMOTH and what are we hoping to accomplish? Over the years we've noticed that gameplay at its highest level tends to have the shortest rallies. We heard the desire for more defendable rallies, and we got to work. Amongst other drawbacks, these shorter rallies can limit interest from fans and people watching online. The sport needs way more fans to continue to grow.

For the past 10+ years, in collaboration with players and the community, we've been testing variations on equipment and rules in hopes to advance the sport. One big, recent improvement from this testing was the no hit zone. Most people had reservations about it when it was announced but once they tried it, they loved it.  

With all innovations, like MAMMOTH, the creators should expect some resistance. We are confident that once people play with it, they'll see what makes it so special. We invested a ton and are placing a big bet that we can continue to innovate and grow. That’s what we think is needed to move something forward, especially an emerging sport. We’re hoping you can continue to push the sport forward with us.

Thanks,

Chris Ruder

CEO, Spikeball Inc.

 

July 6, 2023

Our Biggest Set Yet: The Spikeball™ MAMMOTH™ Kit!
After years of development, testing, revisions, and more testing, we’re excited that the Spikeball™ MAMMOTH™ Kit is here.
 
We see massive potential for this equipment to grow the sport and bring more people into the competitive roundnet community and to the Spikeball Tour Series.
 
We hope that one day, the MAMMOTH™ roundnet kit will be the official tournament set for the Spikeball Tour Series. We plan to work with USA Roundnet, the International Roundnet Federation, the community and more to see how the set can be used in a local and global capacity moving forward. Though we don’t see this implementation happening soon, we still believe that this set will create more rallies and accelerate the sport. As always, we look forward to working with you, the players, to make sure we’re developing products that help advance the sport of roundnet and help you become the best players you can be.
 

About the Kit

MAMMOTH FRAME™

The MAMMOTH™ kit is slightly taller than the Spikeball Pro kit standing at 12 in (vs 8 on the pro). This will allow more time for players to get to drop shots, stand taller when playing body defense, and the unique perk of not having to worry about any balls under the net interfering with play!

The MAMMOTH™ kit features the standard 36 inch diameter that is used in Spikeball Tour Series events currently.

 

TRU-FIT SPIDERNET™
The new paracord system guarantees that every MAMMOTH™ kit will have the exact same net tension and bounce. Gone are the days of adjusting the netting between games or between points.

 

MAV1 BALL™
The ball that is built to last. The MAV1 BALL™ is bigger, but was made to keep the feathery touch of the sport alive, so we designed this ball to feel similar to the Pro ball you know and love, but better.

We kept the familiar pips of the Pro ball when designing the MAV1 BALL™ to keep the spin but added a soft feel to grip, manipulate and control the ball in ways you can’t even imagine, but will want to explore.

We designed this ball with a dual-layer core that will allow the ball to be used in various climates and maintain the same consistency throughout. This is a HUGE improvement to the current Pro ball and a big win for equipment consistency across the board.

The MAV1 BALL™ will soon be available for purchase.

This is a set we love and believe in. We hope you enjoy playing on the MAMMOTH™!

- The Spikeball Tour Series Team

 

April 11, 2023

Officiating Update

The Spikeball Tour Series and USA Roundnet are excited to partner on experimenting with referees to advance officiating in roundnet.
In a recent survey of USAR Members, 69.2% favor having referees at the highest level. USAR has analyzed its officiating guidelines to begin the development of experimental guidelines for refereeing.

What are the referee guidelines?
Based heavily on USAR Observer Guidelines, key differences include active calls on serves, rims, and any previously passive infractions. Because this effort is new and experimental, effective guidelines may evolve frequently throughout 2023 as learnings are documented… an addendum to the USAR officiating guidelines may be published as the experiment progresses.

How often will referees be used?
STS is working to test referees in the semi-finals and finals of the highest open, women’s, and mixed divisions at their Majors in 2023.

Who can be a referee?
Because refereeing is experimental, there is not yet a formal certification process. USAR Observer certification will continue to be a critical credential, and STS will lead sourcing field-experienced observers to be trained as referees throughout the year.

Is this the end of observing?
No. Observing is a critical function to help manage matches not covered by referees. USAR will continue to maintain observer certifications for active USAR Members seeking this credential.

March 24, 2023

2023 Season Initiatives

The 2023 season is just around the corner!

With every year, we recognize new opportunities to push the sport forward. The Spikeball Tour Series team is excited to present these initiatives in hopes that they will further elevate and professionalize the sport.

 

Officiating 
We are delighted to welcome Richard Tarpey as the Officiating Coordinator and Head Referee at each of our US-based Majors.

In addition to refereeing at all of the Majors, Rich will be leading officiating training sessions the Friday before each Major, which we hope will help certify more Observers and Referees.

In conjunction with USA Roundnet, we will be releasing preliminary guidelines for roundnet refereeing in the days to come.

 

Event Stream Coverage
In 2023, we will be testing out a variety of elements on stream that we think will improve the viewer experience.

We are specifically looking forward to testing out having a manned camera to let viewers get up close and personal with the players, teams, and action on the court.

Testing 
We are thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to partner with different organizations to test these initiatives ahead of the season, such as a Pro Exhibition hosted by Roundnetwork and this weekend at the ATX Spikedown, hosted by Trash Roundnet Players.

We are excited to keep testing these changes out ahead of the season, so we can fully implement them for the first Major in Richmond April 15 - 16.

 

Be on the lookout for the live coverage schedule of ATX Spikedown coming soon on the @spikeballtourseries Instagram!

February 2, 2023

Changes for the 2023 Season

As always, we’re taking learnings from last season and making changes in an effort to keep moving the sport forward.

We understand that with each decision there are tradeoffs. There is no perfect system, but through our choices we put more focus on areas we think are worth prioritizing. So here’s a closer look at some of those choices, the tradeoffs involved, and the priorities that we’re focusing on:

 

Majors in One Day

Semis and Finals of Premier on Sundays gave us a greater ability to capture content, tell stories, and focus on various divisions. While it removed some of the frantic hustle to wrap up the events, it also extinguished some of the excitement that builds up on Saturday. We found that Saturdays under the lights were electric and it was hard to get back to that level on Sunday.

We want to prioritize creating the best atmosphere for the most people. With the main event concluding in one day that means more players are likely to stick around, we maintain the energy, and we make figuring out travel a little bit easier. This also allows us to use Sunday for Mixed, giving more ways to play at our marquee events.

 

Two Game Pool Play Matches (Premier and Women’s Advanced at Majors)

Finishing Majors in one day means the day will inevitably go longer. However, we're still aiming for the events to end at a reasonable time. Using best of three series in pool play creates a great deal of uncertainty in the timing of the event. When each round can vary by 30 minutes depending on if it goes to a game three, it’s nearly impossible to create a reliable schedule.

Having teams play two games against each opponent gives us a much more consistent schedule, reduces the workload on players, and puts the focus on bracket play. While some matchups will end in a split, we don’t see that as a bad thing. In actuality, it creates a more level playing field as each team has an opportunity to choose to serve/recieve and more teams are playing the same number of matches going into bracket play.

 

Points System

With more Challenger events and potentially a greater range of competitiveness between them we wanted a simple point system that could better adapt. We created additional tiers to adjust the point scale based on the number of premier teams registered for the event. We also adjusted the values of Majors and Championships accordingly.

Last year points earned from the 2021 season were worth 25% in the current season. We felt like this depreciation created a situation where participating in early events overinflated ranking. So this season, 2022 points will be worth 50% of their value. This depreciation still allows plenty of room for upward mobility, but balances the effect of early participation.  

 

Power Pools (Premier and Women’s Advanced at Majors)

Our belief is that more competitive matches lead to better events. Throughout the years we’ve introduced new divisions to give people the opportunity to play at the best competitive level for them.

While we don’t think we’re in the position yet to break out any new divisions from Premier or Women’s advanced, we do think that both of these divisions would benefit from power pools - a pool play grouping of the teams who have earned the most points, play each other in pool play, and fight for the top seeds.

We are using the number of teams registered to determine the number of power pool spots and our point system to rank those teams. Every team in the division still has the ability to win the tournament, but the players who have performed well historically get more matches against the other top teams. It’s an earned advantage. Inevitably, this means that some good teams will be on the bubble and left out of power pools. Overall, however, more teams will get more competitive matches (both inside and outside of the power pools) and the seeding will be more accurate because of that. It also means that the teams in power pools will be evaluated against the same number of matchups. Rather than the one seed being based on whatever team obliterated the weakest team in their pool, it will be based on how teams performed against the top. Here’s what it would have looked like if we used the system for 2022 Majors. 

 

Women’s Pro Division

We want to reward results throughout the season, promote teams sticking together, and elevate the Championship. A Women’s Pro division is a great milestone to further professionalize the women’s scene. Introducing this system puts more at stake for each of our Majors and allows us to highlight the best of the best at the Championship. Furthermore, it ensures even pools and high caliber competition at the Championship. The tradeoff here is that some talented teams will not make the cutoff. That said, this is the case in any high level sport, and we believe the motivation to make it into the 12-team Women's Pro Division will positively impact the women’s division as a whole.

 

New Challenger Format

Last season, Challenger events were run by independent tournament directors off of Spikeball’s playbook. Spikeball determined what price registration should be, how pools would be made, what time bracket play should start, and the prize money. While this created very standardized events, the process took away from the host’s ownership, creativity, and personal brand. Any event was just “Tour Stop X of 16”.

This year Spikeball is focused on better supporting local roundnet organizations by giving them more room to create value, innovate, and have ownership of their event. Spikeball requires certain levels of standardization to ensure safety and quality, but overall we’re putting the decision making power in the hands of the host. They own the events! They’re branding their own tournaments which are part of the Challenger Series. Our hope is that by sponsoring these events and giving hosts the ability to make them their own the best ideas will rise to the top, and the sport will move forward at a faster pace.

Like anything new, we know there will be some kinks to work out along the way and appreciate your support and patience as we do so. Spike on!

- The Sports Development Team

2022

December 14, 2022

College Nationals - Bids and D1 Squads

College Nationals will be in Richmond, VA May 20 - 21!

Unlike in seasons past, you will not need a bid to compete in the D1 Squads Division. D1 Squads at Spring Sectionals and College Nationals will be using 5-Team Squads (3 Open, 1 Mixed, 1 Women's team).

Registrations will open soon.

July 22, 2022

Pro Division Tie Breakers

  1. (if applicable) Head to head bracket play record from 2022 Challengers and Majors
  2. Record from 2022 Challengers and Majors against (same) teams that have earned Pro Auto Bids (doesn't matter whether or not they accepted them)
  3. Most points earned from a single event
  4. (if applicable) Highest finish at 4th event. Keep extending if necessary.  

April 29, 2022

European Premier Update

We have updated the format of our European Challenger events to improve competition based on the unique context. Specifically, we have removed the Premier division and all teams who want to prove they are the best will compete in Contender. Because there has been less opportunity to earn Premier in Europe, we want to make sure that top European teams get to compete for the top spots and prizes at this event. The top 8 teams that are not fully Premier will earn Premier. If 8 fully Premier teams participate then the event will earn full Challenger points towards the Spikeball Tour Series ranking. Premier points can only be earned by teams that also earn/have Premier. As this is the first year that the Spikeball Tour Series has events taking place in Europe, we think this change will yield better competition and more accurate results.

April 20, 2022

Tournament Cancellation/Weather Policy

Spikeball aims to provide a safe environment for its events. In general, we run events rain or shine. However, if for some reason we must cancel, postpone, or relocate an event due to uncontrollable weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our reasonable control, emails will be sent to all registered participants and announcements will be made on the event website and our social networking channels.

We will do everything within our power to make sure that events take place, but the safety of our participants is our number one concern. When registering for an event, you are accepting a small risk that uncontrollable circumstances might mean events need to be modified, postponed, or canceled. As such, no refunds will be given if a tournament is modified, postponed, or canceled for circumstances beyond Spikeball™’s reasonable control.

 

Coed Sunday

Coed has been CRUSHING it this year!! With the extra round (or two) of bracket play the tournament has been going until 4 or 5pm so please book your Sunday night flights with that in mind.

 

SAO Premier Qualifiers (formerly known as Sanctioned events)

The top 3 non-Premier teams at each event will earn Premier status and will be able to compete in the Premier 5.0 division of the Spikeball Tour Series

2021

Safety First

We're optimistic that we'll be able to safely run events in 2021 and are super excited for the season. Our number one priority is the safety of our players, fans, staff and the communities that they are all a part of. We are hopeful that we will be able to run our season as planned, but will adjust accordingly should running any of these events create unnecessary risks.
 

What's New for 2021?

We are super excited about the 2021 schedule. Our updates are focused on creating a better player experience and more exciting tournament atmosphere.

  • Ten event national series, two day format
  • Smaller pools, Best of 3 matches
  • Best teams from each pool earn spots in top divisional brackets (e.g. Premier Pool Play ➡ Pro Bracket)
  • Nationals Pro division bid awarded at each event
  • Up to $50K in cash prizes up for grabs throughout the season  

Tour Series Format

For the Contender and Premier/Pro divisions, events will be two days. This structure keeps a low barrier of entry for Beginner, Youth, Intermediate and Women's divisions while letting us put them in the spotlight on Saturday. This setup also helps us remove some of the rush, provide more evenly matched games, and tell better stories.  

The pool play format will be changing to create more meaningful, accurate, and competitive pool play matches. There will be more details to come, but check out the tournament FAQs for additional info.


Questions? Shoot us an email over at tournaments@spikeball.com