Tokyo, June 18, 2007 - Fresh from their successful broadcasting of the 2006 FIVB World Championships, Japanese TV giant TBS put the 2007 World Grand Prix firmly in the spotlight on Monday afternoon.
At the Quest Hall in Harajuku – one of the trendiest areas of downtown Tokyo – TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) staged a glitzy Grand Prix promotional event featuring volleyball celebrities, programme presenters and commentators.
But the stars of the show were women's team head coach Shoichi Yanagimoto and 12 of his players, all of whom took turns on the microphone in front of a hall of invited guests and media.
"We have worked hard in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and this year is the start of our countdown to the Beijing Olympic Games," Yanagimoto said.
"We will be striving to produce the perfect performance, and to play in a way that will move the fans and the people."
TBS, who attracted an average rating of 17.5 per cent across Japan's seven main broadcasting regions for the women's World Championship last year, are confident of bumper crowds and viewing figures for the three home legs of the popular Grand Prix.
The 9,000-capacity Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo will stage the first two weekends of the preliminary round, from August 3-5 and 10-12, and Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium, which also has a capacity of 9,000, will host the third round from August 17-19.
The six-team final round will be held in Ningbo, China, from August 22-26, when Japan will be hoping to improve on their sixth-place finish in Italy last year.
On Thursday, TBS will have a press conference at their headquarters with the two official supporters of the Grand Prix: singer Seiko Matsuda and comedian Takashi Fujii, who appeared in the hit 2003 movie "Lost in Translation".