COSTA MESA, Calif., July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and new owner Donald Sun wasted little time making a big first impression, announcing today a blockbuster series of new pro beach volleyball tour events and aggressive re-branding initiatives poised to solidify its historic position as the premier U.S. pro league and Tour.
Despite acquiring the AVP only two months ago, Mr. Sun, inspired by hundreds of pro player and fan letters expressing support, decided to fast-forward an already aggressive 2013 launch plan and invest in establishing two major new event properties for the current 2012 season.
The new AVP will make its official 2012 season debut on the sand at the new AVP Cincinnati Open, to be held over Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2012, at the city's new Washington Park. The Cincinnati area has a rich tradition of supporting pro beach volleyball, having hosted six prior tour events. Touting U.S. pro beach volleyball's highest regular season prize purse of $175,000 and a freshly christened host venue, the AVP Cincinnati Open is ideally timed to capitalize on the enthusiasm generated by the London 2012 Summer Games lead-in.
Plans were also announced for the all-new 2012 AVP Championships, a property being strategically positioned for long-term growth as the "Super Bowl" of pro beach volleyball in the U.S. Initially planned for the following week, the 2012 AVP Championships will now be held Sept. 7-9, 2012 in Santa Barbara, CA at West Beach. They will feature the top 12 men's and women's pro beach teams competing in a new, more compelling match format for a record first-year prize purse of $225,000, with the potential of winning the largest single take home prize in the world. Teams will be determined by pro player performance and qualification at the new AVP Cincinnati Open and the revamped AVP Rankings.
"We have yet to reach out to prospective sponsors or even finalize our website, but after listening to players and fans and despite a brutally challenging timeline, we felt strongly it's the right thing to do for the sport -- to put some meaningful points on the scoreboard now in 2012," reasoned Mr. Sun. "We're committed to investing in and establishing these cornerstone properties for our current pro players, fueling the professional dreams of grassroots players and reconnecting with a loyal, patient fan base now, regardless of year one financial success. We're in this for the long haul," he added.
"The re-emergence of the AVP is positive news for the sport of beach volleyball in the United States," said Doug Beal, CEO of USA Volleyball. "The events scheduled by AVP will add to those already sanctioned by USAV and will provide to our elite USA athletes additional competitive experiences as well as expanded income opportunities and media exposure, all of which benefits the success of those athletes internationally, and bodes well for the growth of the sport throughout the country."
"For us as pro players, this news is huge -- both in the short and long term," said Jake Gibb, 2008 and 2012 Olympian. "To have two major pro beach events appear out of nowhere on the schedule this season, as a follow up to the Summer Games, it not only adds much-needed prize money to the mix, but also media exposure and sponsor opportunities."
In addition to creating two new AVP Tour events for the second half of the 2012 season, the league is in the process of creating an organic, multi-phased branding initiative called the "AVP Serve & Protect America's Beaches™" Program, that combines elements of environmental protection-based corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability and U.S. armed services support platforms.
"America's beaches double as our pro player 'offices,' and our fans' playgrounds, so they're core to the new AVP brand's DNA and mission," explained Mr. Sun. "As part of doing business on the beach, we're committed to collaborating with not-for-profit organizations and strategic partners that share our beach environmental and sustainability vision and goals. We intend to educate and engage our audiences, and activate programming at the national corporate, Tour event and beach community levels moving forward," he added.
New 2013 Season AVP Initiatives: AVP "Majors"; AVP 30th Anniversary
While pursuing an ambitious 2012 event marketing and branding agenda, the new AVP shared additional broad stroke plans for establishing the following cornerstone event properties for the 2013 season and beyond. Details including markets, venues and prize purses will be released as plans and negotiations are finalized.
- The AVP 30th Anniversary. A season-long celebration recognizing and showcasing the Tour's past, present and future stars, rules and sponsors, etc.
- Four 2013 AVP "Majors." Four new AVP Tour events will have separate and distinct personalities to maximize their value as both AVP properties and stand-alone brands, yet will also be marketed and packaged collectively as AVP Majors. 2013 AVP Majors will include:
- The Classic. A Tour event that will showcase the AVP 30th Anniversary, and incorporate a retro look and feel and honor pro beach legends.
- The Open. A competition open to any and all players and teams wishing to compete.
- The Players Tournament. A player appreciation tournament specifically designed to give back to the pro players, who will vote on the rules, draw, format, etc.
- 2013 AVP Championships. The AVP Championship is the culmination of the 2013 AVP Tour, where the best teams compete based on performance rankings.
The AVP is in the process of engaging and partnering with outside tournament directors, each of whom will be held accountable for delivering best-in-class standards for player, fan and sponsor experience. The AVP will also consider inclusion of other current pro beach tour events willing to join the AVP Tour and demonstrate the ability to meet those standards.
In addition to the new 2013 events, the AVP is introducing a number of new marketing programs that maximize sponsorship return on investment (ROI) and target audience reach while delivering pro beach volleyball to both avid fans and mainstream America in record numbers.
"We are excited that the AVP is back in business and look forward to once again providing them with the best volleyballs for their events. We are even more pleased with the new leadership, strategic vision, and ROI-based marketing platforms they are developing," said Enrico Di Mario, Global Business Director for longtime AVP business partner, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. "It's refreshing; they're going about the task of improving their pro beach tour in a very smart way – focusing first on delivering a dramatically increased target audience, and providing a means to translate that into sales for sponsors. As the new business model proves successful, everything else improves from prize purses to media exposure to retail sales opportunities," explained Mr. Di Mario.
"The new AVP approach offers the perfect storm of ground-floor opportunity for sponsor brands seeking a customized, high-profile association with America's healthy & active beach lifestyle and elite, great-looking pro athletes," explained Dick Carle, AVP Chairman. "Our 2012 activity capitalizes on the anticipated spike in beach volleyball interest that traditionally occurs with the Summer Games. Select partners can immediately test our new programs that use traditional media outlets to deliver Super Bowl size audiences with credibility, efficiency and effectiveness. However, not all brands will fit since the new AVP brand will be inexorably and organically linked with doing the right thing for America's beaches."
"Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will the new AVP," admitted Mr. Sun. "It will take us several years to ramp-up and stage the number and quality of AVP Tour events we envision, and even then, it's going to require a great deal of cooperation and support from everyone in the sport to really succeed over the long-term. We're committed to being a positive leadership influence and work collaboratively ... that's just how we plan to roll."
For more information about AVP events, programs, sponsor opportunities or media inquiries, contact the AVP corporate office at 949.646.4600, log on to www.avp.com or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/avpbvb.
The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) is a leading lifestyle sports and entertainment company that produces, markets and distributes professional beach volleyball events worldwide. Organized in 1983, it has operated the industry's most prominent national touring series, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, featuring the top American men and women competitors in the sport including athletes who have won numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze Olympic medals. Synonymous with the sport and the most recognized brand in the space, the AVP was recently acquired by new ownership that has set out to solidify its leadership position. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA.
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SOURCE Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP)