Association of Volleyball Professionals

The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is the biggest and longest-running professional beach volleyball tour in the United States.[1] Founded in 1983, the AVP is headquartered in Newport Beach, California.[2] The AVP operates as a 3-tiered development system with AVPFirst, a youth program;[3] AVPNext, a developmental circuit;[4] and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour itself.

Association of Volleyball Professionals
Association of Volleyball Professionals logo.jpg
SportBeach volleyball
CountryUnited States
TV partner(s)NBC
Amazon Prime
Current sports event 2020 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour


1983–1997: Origins and early historyEdit

The AVP was formed in 1983 as a player's union. Following a dispute with a private promoter at the 1984 World Championships in Redondo Beach, California, the AVP began organizing its own men's tour in 1984.[5][6] The 1985 AVP tour included stops in eight U.S. states with a total prize money of US$275,000. The sport experienced significant growth in the 1980s and 1990s, and by 1993, the AVP tour had a total prize money of US$3.7 million, with ten events that were broadcast on NBC Sports and attended by over 600,000 people.[5] The AVP began organizing women's events in 1993, competing with the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA), the main women's tour, that began in 1986.[5]

The AVP had conflicts with the sport's international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), in the 1980s and 1990s over regulations and sponsorship.[6] This culminated in an initial boycott of FIVB Olympic qualification events by the top American players in the lead up to beach volleyball's Olympic debut at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The boycott ended in mid-1995 after an agreement between both parties was reached.[7]

1998–2010: Bankruptcies and restructuringEdit

A men's match at the 2017 Austin Open

By 1997, sponsors started to withdraw due to the mounting financial problems and mismanagement in the AVP. In 1998, the AVP filed for bankruptcy and new management restructured the AVP from a players union to a for-profit privately owned company. The tour was bought out of bankruptcy the following year by Major League Volleyball and twelve events were held with a total prize money of US$1 million. In 2001, the tour was bought by Leonard Armato and his company Management Plus. The new tour combined the men's and women's professional tours.[5] The tour also adopted the FIVB's smaller court size and rally scoring system, which upset many of the tour's players at the time.[8][9]

In 2006, Crocs signed on as the title sponsor of the tour, which became known as the AVP Crocs Tour until its suspension in 2010. Other corporate sponsors for the tour included McDonald's, Nautica, Anheuser-Busch, Nature Valley and Xbox.[10] By 2008, the AVP had an annual revenue of nearly US$25 million and were organizing as many as 31 events each year. However, the tour was hit badly by the financial crisis of 2007–2008 which saw it lose sponsors and revenue.[11]

The AVP suspended its operations in August 2010, canceling the five remaining tournaments in the tour calendar[12][11] and filing for bankruptcy once more.[5] During the AVP's absence, two other domestic professional tours, the National Volleyball League (NVL)[13] and the Jose Cuervo Pro Volleyball Beach Series,[11] were formed.

2011–present: Re-emergenceEdit

A women's match at the 2017 Hermosa Beach Open

The AVP was bought in December 2010 by DFA PVA II Partners, LLC, and a tournament was held in Huntington Beach, California in October 2011.[11] In April 2012, the AVP was bought by Donald Sun and two tournaments, the Cincinnati Open and the 2012 AVP Championships, were held later that year.[14] The first full AVP season under Sun began in 2013.[12] Facing competition from the NVL, the AVP required players competing on the 2017 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour to sign a four-year exclusivity contract.[15][16]

Since its re-emergence in 2013, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour has once again established itself as the biggest professional beach volleyball tour in the United States,[1] with most of the top American players competing on the tour.[17] International players are allowed to play on the AVP tour as well if they have dual citizenship or permanent residency in the United States.[18] Notable international players on the tour include Brazil's Ricardo Santos and Canada's Sarah Pavan.[17]

On July 13, 2021, casino operator Bally's Corporation announced that it had acquired the AVP. The tour will leverage Sinclair Broadcast Group's Bally Sports regional sports networks as a distribution channel for AVP events.[19]


Since the 2017 season, there are two main differences between the AVP rules and standard beach volleyball rules. The first difference is that AVP matches have a "point freeze" at match point, wherein the scoring system changes from rally scoring (either team can score a point on every serve) to side-out scoring (only serving team can score a point) when either team reaches match point.[20] This rule was introduced to allow for more comebacks.[21] The second difference is that "let" serves, wherein the ball touches the net while crossing over into the opponent's court during service, are not allowed during "point freezes" and the serve will be replayed.[20]

Tournament categoriesEdit

The current tournament structure was introduced in 2017. AVP tournaments are categorized as either a "Gold Series" or "Open" event. Gold Series tournaments award more prize money and AVP national ranking points. For the 2017 Tour, Open events had a prize purse of US$150,000–$158,000 while Gold Series events had a prize purse of US$175,000–$225,000.[22]

AVPNext and AVPFirstEdit

AVPNext was started in 2014 as a developmental circuit, serving as a pipeline for future AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour players. AVPNext tournaments enable players to earn AVP national ranking points which are required for qualification and seeding in the Pro Tour events. The highest-ranked AVPNext teams from each region at the end of the season also receive direct entry into the Manhattan Beach Open.[23] For the 2019 season, the AVPNext Gold events had a prize purse of US$20,000–25,000.[4]

AVPFirst was launched in 2015 as a non-profit youth development program aimed at increasing youth participation in the sport through beach volleyball clinics and events.[24] The inaugural AVPFirst Championships were held in Hermosa Beach, California in 2016 for boys and girls in the under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 age groups. Teams qualified through a series of qualifying events throughout the country.[25]

Television coverageEdit

AVP tournaments are televised on NBC or NBCSN.[26] From the 2018 season, almost every match from every AVP tournament will also be presented live and on demand through Amazon Prime Video.[27]

AVP AwardsEdit

The AVP Awards Banquet[28] takes place at the end of each year, honoring the tour's top performers based on statistics, player votes and AVP national ranking points earned during the year.[29]

Men's award winnersEdit

Women's award winnersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Golen, Jimmy (May 4, 2017). "Making Waves on the Beach: Walsh Jennings Will Skip AVP Tour". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Connelly, Laylan (May 3, 2017). "AVP beach volleyball is taking over Surf City". Orange County Register.
  3. ^ "AVP launches AVP First as part of the organization's developmental structure". May 25, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "AVPNext Offers 8 Premier Events With $125,000 In Prize Money and 8 Wild Cards To MBO". February 5, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Beach Volleyball History". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "The history of beach volleyball". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Wise, Aaron N.; Meyer, Bruce S. (May 23, 1997). "The Internationalization of Sports". International Sports Law and Business, Volume 1. Kluwer Law International. p. 680. ISBN 9789041109774.
  8. ^ Anderson, Kelli (September 3, 2001). "A New Beachhead After years of infighting nearly killed it, beach volleyball is trying a comeback". Sports Illustrated.
  9. ^ Cody, Kevin (May 31, 2001). "Cover Story - Bragging Rights". Easy Reader. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Wong, Glenn (2008). "Volleyball". The Comprehensive Guide to Careers in Sports. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 164. ISBN 978-1449602031.
  11. ^ a b c d Holmes, Baxter (April 2, 2012). "Pro beach volleyball league AVP is sold to O.C. businessman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Heitner, Darren (October 16, 2013). "The Business Of Professional Beach Volleyball Shows Promise As Final Event Of 2013 Approaches". Forbes.
  13. ^ Sullivan, Jenni Renee (September 24, 2014). "A Tale Of Two Beaches: Pro Volleyball Leagues Have Different Approaches". ESPN. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  14. ^ Rykoff, Amanda (August 31, 2012). "AVP beach volleyball tour returns". ESPN. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  15. ^ Kaplon, Megan (May 2, 2017). "AVP Player Contract Requires Exclusivity, Four-Year Commitment". FloVolleyball. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  16. ^ Chan, Ed (April 29, 2017). "Most AVP players acquiesce and sign contract, exclusivity agreement". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Chan, Ed (May 3, 2017). "From international players to a 66-year-old, AVP Huntington qualifier starts Thursday".
  18. ^ "FIVB Huntington Beach Open FAQs". March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "Bally's buys AVP, plans to air content on RSNs". Sports Business Journal. Archived from the original on July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Kaplon, Megan (May 1, 2017). "AVP To Continue Use Of Experimental Rule Changes In 2017". FloVolleyball. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  21. ^ Kaplon, Megan (June 28, 2016). "AVP to Implement Two Rule Changes in Chicago". FloVolleyball. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  22. ^ "Introducing The Gold Series". June 5, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  23. ^ "AVP expands AVPNext developmental competition series". March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  24. ^ "AVP launches AVP First as part of the organization's developmental structure". May 25, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  25. ^ "AVPFirst "thrilled" with turnout, championships". July 28, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  26. ^ "NBC Sports to broadcast every AVP tournament this year". NBC Sports. May 3, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  27. ^ Golen, Jimmy (December 15, 2017). "Amazon will stream AVP beach volleyball tour next 3 summers". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  28. ^ Chan, Ed (November 9, 2017). "Beach notes: AVP Awards, Serving Up Style, FIVB calendar, visiting the troops".
  29. ^ "AVP releases 2015 awards". USA Volleyball. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Player Awards: AVP Pro Beach Tour". Beach volleyball database. Retrieved February 21, 2020.

External linksEdit