Dallas may be a long, long way from a beach. But it’s about to get its own professional beach volleyball team—two teams, in fact. So it’s a good bet that truckloads of sand will be heading to North Texas soon.
The Association of Volleyball Professionals—the premier U.S. pro beach volleyball league, founded 40 years ago in 1983—has announced the launch of the AVP League, a professional beach volleyball league. Featuring eight founding teams with equality for both men and women in competition and compensation, the league’s home markets will be in Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Brooklyn, Miami, and Palm Beach.
Each city will have one starting men’s team and one starting women’s team. The top overall teams will then participate in an end-of-season playoff tournament and championship match, the AVP said.
The news comes a year after the Pro Volleyball Federation, an indoor women’s volleyball league, announced its own launch locally out of Frisco and Columbus, Ohio. The PVF is slated to take the court in February 2024 and recently announced a major equity investment from pop and R&B star Jason Derulo.
Player draft to be held in 2024
To pack all those teams with seasoned, sandy players, the AVP is League will hold a draft in Manhattan Beach, California, prior to the inaugural 2024 season.
Robert Corvino, chief operating officer of the AVP, called the introduction of the AVP League “a transformational change for the sport of volleyball and the AVP, which has grown continually for 40 years.”
“It builds on the best traditions of the past to create exciting, new opportunities for players and fans in the future,” Corvino added in a statement.
Three-time Olympic medalist April Ross lauded the move.
“The AVP identified an opportunity for evolution, and I’m excited that these changes will position beach volleyball in line with other professional sports,” Ross said in a statement. “The goal is always to grow the sport to create more opportunities for athletes, and ensure success for our domestic organization and I know the AVP League will do just that.”
Another Olympic gold medalist, Alix Klineman, says the league is launching with players in mind.
“I appreciate the AVP’s eagerness to listen to the players and work to provide a format that benefits them and advance the growth of the sport,” Klineman said.
Andy Benesh, who hopes to compete on a future U.S. Olympic team in beach volleyball, called the league “the revamp the players and fans have been looking for.” He said it “will definitely bring a new element to our sport.”
In addition to the new league, AVP said reimagining its traditional two-player team tournaments into the AVP Heritage Series. Next season’s AVP Heritage Series will host multiple weekend-long tournaments in major cities across the country, including Southern California, Miami, and Chicago.
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