Beach Volleyball under the Big “T.O.P.”
Long Beach, Calif., July 24, 2014 - The US$1-million ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is “Beach Volleyball under the Big Top - Tour, Other Organized Opportunities and Performances.”
Starting with the opening pool play rounds Wednesday in the FIVB World Tour Grand Slam on Alamitos Beach in this southern California port city, the event can be called a “three-ring” circus highlighted by the participation of the world’s best Beach Volleyball players competing for the $70,000 first-place prizes for each gender along with evening concerts Friday and Saturday.
When promoting the event, the local organizers have publicized the event as “much more than a Beach Volleyball tournament. It’s a week-long festival celebrating all things beach, including sports, music, culture and community.”
In an article earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times and at the player’s technical meeting Tuesday, event promoter said "this event is by far and away bigger than any beach volleyball event that's ever been staged in the United States, without question. We want to use what's best about Southern California and the beach lifestyle to create a truly compelling, fully-integrated sports and entertainment experience. It starts with bringing the best in the world together for high-stakes competition, and it ends with the whole beach lifestyle at the highest level."
RING NO. 1 - THE TOUR
With the FIVB World Tour returning to the United States for the second-straight year after a 10-season hiatus, the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball’s $1-million ranks one of the seven richest Beach Volleyball tournaments in the history of the sport where men’s international competition started in 1987 and the women’s in 1992.
Five of the previous $1-million events were held at FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2005 (Berlin), 2007 (Gstaad, Switzerland), 2009 (Stavanger, Norway), 2011 (Rome) and 2013 (Stare Jablonki, Poland). Last week in The Netherlands, the first FIVB Grand Slam event featured a $1-million event where first-time gold medal winning teams from Brazil (women) and Poland (men) shared the $70,000 first-place prizes.
With international television coverage for the FIVB World Tour growing each year, the 2014 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball will also feature 17 hours of coverage by NBC Sports Group and Universal Sports Network in the United States of action here Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Olympic gold medalist and veteran play-by-play commentator Chris Marlowe will call the action from Alamitos Beach. Marlowe will be joined by beach volleyball Olympian and three-time All-American Kevin Wong, who will serve as an analyst.
RING NO. 2 - 4- OTHER ORGANIZED OPPORTUNITIES
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball will also feature 4- and 6- person tournaments on Friday and Saturday where the competitors that are eliminated early from the FIVB World Tour event can also form their own teams to participate with local and regional teams.
When speaking at the player’s technical meeting here Tuesday, Armato encouraged the FIVB World Tour entries to participate. “Several of you did it last year and found it to be fun,” said Armato, who headed the American domestic tour (2001-2009) and has represented such professional athletes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar De La Hoya.
In addition to the “fun” competition where prizes will be award, American Olympians Barbra Fontana and Holly McPeak held an “elite” training camp for “up-and-coming” women’s Beach Volleyball players. Hundreds of young children from area recreational clubs were in attendance Wednesday watching the action, exercising and gathering autographs.
“What a fun day for the kids,” said a couple that had traveled over a 1,000 miles from Ottawa, Canada to watch the competition. “Once we heard that the event was going to be played again in southern California, we scheduled our vacation time since this was the only international event close to our home. We love the sport and enjoy the competition.”
Ali Koepke Loper, a former collegiate Volleyball player at the University of Colorado where she played with former FIVB standout Rachel Wacholder Scott in the mid-1990s, traveled from San Clemente Wednesday with her son (Jack, 8) and daughter (Quinn, 7) to the event to watch the action and visit with friends. “Outside of visiting with friends, I wanted to expose my children to the event and Beach Volleyball. Unlike other professional events, we can meet the players and get autographs. That’s the sport – up close and personal.
RING NO. 3 - PERFORMANCE
With one end of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball center court featuring a stage, the schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will feature musical entertainment as the week-long Beach Volleyball festival celebrates “all things beach,” including sports, music, culture and community involvement.” Here is the musical lineup,
"At ASICS, we have a tremendous passion for the sport and culture of beach volleyball, and we're thrilled to continue as title sponsor of the celebrated ASICS® World Series of Beach Volleyball for a second year," commented Kevin Wulff, President CEO of ASICS America Corporation in a press release. "This tournament is the crown jewel of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball and our continued support for the event, and standout athletes like Kerri (American Olympic and world champion Walsh Jennings), further solidifies our position as leaders in the beach volleyball space."
As scheduled and being played on Alamitos Beach this week, the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is truly a three-ring circus under the Beach Volleyball Big Top - Tour, Other Organized Opportunities and Performances.”