Sports Business Daily reported Wednesday that the AVP “is set to return to the sand next month with a three-event series in Long Beach, according to a source.”
The online news outlet said there will be no spectators and will be called the AVP Champions Cup Series. It added that the three events will have a total prize purse of $700,000.
“The AVP Champions Cup Series allows us to keep our footprint small, regulate safety protocols and still provide top-flight beach volleyball competition for fans to watch,” tour owner Donald Sun said in a statement to VolleyballMag.com.
Players were told the events will be conducted at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center on July 17-19, July 24-26, and July 31-August 2. Action will be shown on both Amazon Prime Video, where all courts will be streamed, and NBCSN. Players will be able to register beginning Friday.
Players were told there will be an eight-team main draw with 12 teams trying to qualify. Two teams per gender will advance into the main draw.
Two weeks ago the AVP in an email told its players that “all fan-attended AVP pro events for 2020” are suspended.
The American pro beach volleyball tour said that “Our new goal is to create an interesting compilation of beach volleyball events without the traditional on-site spectators.”
VolleyballMag.com got reaction from a handful of players at that time.
Said Alix Klineman, who along with partner April Ross won three AVP events last season and four the year before, “Imagining tournaments without fans is a really strange concept. But I think given the times, it’s the best solution and I know AVP is working hard to find a way for tournaments to still happen.”
Already this season the AVP canceled events in New York City, Austin and Seattle and then moved its schedule around, hoping to kick things off with the Hermosa Beach Open July 24-26 and then August 14-16 have its showcase event, the Manhattan Beach Open. Also on tap were events in Chicago September 4-6, Hawai’i September 18-20 and Huntington Beach (which normally opens the season in May), already rescheduled to October 2-4.
In its email the AVP told players of the new concept. It wrote: “Ideally this will take place over the course of a few consecutive weeks at one consistent location in Southern California that can facilitate a safe and controlled environment for as many athletes as these regulated permits may allow.”
Veterans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won one AVP last year and took second in another.
“Obviously it’s disappointing that the AVP canceled the season but it’s totally understandable,” Phil said. I’m curious to see what event(s) they come up with in the somewhat near future.”
“The cancelation of fan-based AVP events for the 2020 season was an unfortunate but necessary decision,” Stafford Slick said. “I have full confidence that the AVP came to this ultimate conclusion to preserve and protect the health, safety, and well-being of all stakeholders in the AVP community.”
”There are so many moving pieces that must make event planning extremely difficult right now, but the AVP seems to be making a huge effort to still have events for the 2020 season,” Katie Spieler. “I’m excited to hear their ideas for reaching a global audience despite not being able to have fans onsite.
“I think it may spark innovative new ways of reaching a larger audience than we may have seen in the past for our sport. I love the AVP’s commitment to finding alternative solutions in the face of some adversity.
“In my opinion, it parallels the beach volleyball community’s mindset: we love the constant challenges – finding ways to continue to push forward and make adversity our friend.”
Veteran Ryan Doherty said he respected the AVP’s decision.
“I am proud to be part of an organization that would put the health and safety of its supporters above anything else. I’m hopeful that the AVP has built enough momentum to be able to come out of the gates strong in 2021.”
Trevor Crabb said he will simply make the best of the situation.
“I’m hoping to at least play in something this summer,” Crabb said. “We just started training a couple times a week in the hopes of having a few events. If the AVP can pull this private event thing off it would be huge for the players and still give something the fans can watch online. I’m confident the AVP will get it done.
“If not then we just start playing high stakes games at practice.”
Neither the organization’s website, avp.com, nor its social-media accounts referenced the announcement.