The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour has commenced and is making its way to the east coast in a few weeks. The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour is a national tour featuring seven tournaments in Salt Lake City (August 16-18), Manhattan Beach (August 23-25), Cincinnati (August 30-September 2), Atlantic City (September 6-8), St. Petersburg (Sept. 13-15), Santa Barbara (September 27-29) and Huntington Beach Calif. (October 18-20). This year the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour will be making its first appearance on the east coast at the DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational on September 6-8.
Pro beach volleyball player and hometown hero Ryan Doherty is looking forward to the DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational. “Not only is it a beach that I have spent a lot of time at (and lost a lot of hands at) but it is a chance to showcase beach volleyball on the east coast. I'm also excited to get the opportunity to play in my home state in front of my friends and family,” he said.
The tournament is expected to bring some of the most renowned men’s and women’s beach volleyball talent in the world, including three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh, Olympians April Ross, Jen Kessy, Sean Rosenthal, Phil Dalhausser, hometown hero Ryan Doherty of Toms River, two-time Manhattan Beach Open champions Whitney Pavlik and John Hyden, and winners will take home a piece of the $100,000 prize purse.
We had the opportunity to speak to James Leitz, Senior VP of IMG Action Sports and executive producer of the upcoming Manhattan Beach and DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational about the DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational.
Elizabeth Tam (ET): What makes this event unique from other volleyball tournaments & events?
James Leitz (JL): Atlantic City is a unique place in itself with its rich culture and history. The DO AC Invitational will be the homecoming of pro beach volleyball to Atlantic City after 16 years and will feature the world’s best pro players battling it out on the city’s brand new sand courts with the world-famous Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean being the backdrop. This stop in particular is different from others because it is an Invitational and features eight teams per gender as opposed to the typical 16-team draw per gender. Teams must earn their spot and that is determined by their points acquired on the AVP tour. This tournament is like a “bonus” for a select eight teams per gender. If you make it to Atlantic City, then you have a shot at an additional $100,000 prize purse that only a few teams will qualify to play for. It puts a lot of pressure on the performance at the Manhattan Beach weekend for many athletes – they all have their eye on one of these coveted spots.
ET: Why did IMG want to partner with AVP & the Atlantic City Alliance for this event?
JL: Atlantic City has all the necessities to host world class professional sporting events -- more specifically, a brand new beach volleyball facility with turn-key capabilities to host top professional athletes and Olympians.
The City is also a premiere destination on the East Coast. The idea was to establish a bi-coastal presence at two premiere spots, and with The Manhattan Beach Open being the longest running beach volleyball tournament for the last 53 years, and Atlantic City with it's rich history -- it just made perfect sense to team up with the Atlantic City Alliance to put on this production there. AVP is a household name, a well-established brand and is running a very respectable tour. Everything came together nicely. Atlantic City is the only east coast stop on the 2013 tour and it is the first time AVP has been to Atlantic City as well so we are all thrilled about this tournament.
ET: What are some of the highlights of the event and things we should keep an eye out for?
JL: Look out for the top-rated teams for top-notch competition. The DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational will be the homecoming of pro beach volleyball to Atlantic City after 16 years and will feature the world’s best pro players battling for the largest chunk of the $100,000 prize purse. There will be a festival area for families full of giveaways, autograph sessions with the pro athletes and of course, Atlantic City is a destination for culture, night life, art and moving towards being a premiere stop for sports - this is the place to be. The event is free to the general public and limited VIP tickets are available for sale for those who want to get closest to the action. Check http://avp.com/events/atlantic-city for more info.
ET: How does each stop of the tour differ from the others? As the event is "returning home" to AC after 16 years, are you doing anything special for the event?
JL: We are kicking off Atlantic City's new volleyball courts with the world's best volleyball players and producing a first-rate stadium to showcase their talents. There's no better celebration than that!
Thank you to James Leitz for taking the time to speak with us!
For more information on the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour, please visit: www.AVP.com
For more information on IMG, please visit: www.IMG.com