Back to the Beach as AVP Relaunches

The AVP is relaunching itself with five tour spots this year.

(from Sports Business Journal, April 22, 2013) One year ago, the rights of the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) changed hands—right into those of Donald Sun. Sun is reviving the AVP tour with five stops featuring some of beach volleyball’s top athletes.

Sun, a California businessman, has already hired Wasserman Media Group to manage event operations and sponsorship sales. Currently, the tour’s only existing sponsor is volleyball maker Wilson. Sources have stated that the agency is looking for several sponsors in ranges from $200,000 to $400,000, annually.

Sources said AVP organizers have talked with CBS Sports Network about broadcasting the tour. AVP Chairman Dick Carle declined to comment on media plans but stated he hopes to close a deal with a broadcaster in the coming weeks.

Tour cities includes stops in Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, St. Petersburg, FL, and both Santa Barbara and Huntington Beach, CA, between August and October. Carle confirmed that players who have already committed to participate feature Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers, Kerri Walsh, and Olympic silver medalists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross.

This five-stop tour has been the biggest push yet to bring beach volleyball back to the U.S. Founded in 1983, the AVP’s popularity soared after becoming a marquee Olympic sport in 2004. By 2008, the AVP generated nearly $25 million annually and hosted more than 30 events. The tour folded in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sun’s company, AOS Group, purchased the AVP name for $2 million after bankruptcy procedures ended. Carle confirmed that they will hold five events this year and are looking to double and possibly triple the number of events before the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Carle stated, “We have a very passionate owner who loves the sport and it looking to grow it over the long-term.  Our goal is to popularize the sport and increase the amount of people that have an interest in it. That’s going to be an evolutionary thing, it won’t happen overnight.”