Manhattan Beach Open is pure gold to the AVP
MANHATTAN BEACH – In past years the AVP sought out sponsors for the Manhattan Beach Open. It’s the other way around now.
“After a few years of us doing our due diligence, it’s always nice to feel loved, right?” said Donald Sun, managing partner of the AVP. “It’s always nice to know that what we bring to them – our sponsors and partners – is something that they value. That’s been the whole program, project, whatever you want to call it, the last few years is to get to the point where this means something to people, right?
“Whether it be fan support, sponsors or anybody.”
Also, the event’s prize money has increased from $200,000 to $225,000 this year. Other stops that now also have more prize money are New York and Chicago. New York was at $150,000 and is now at $175,000 and Chicago was raised from $200,000 to $225,000.
The three events make up what is called the Gold Series. It’s all part of Sun’s plan to make certain stops on the tour a bit more special, the way some other sports do.
“Look at golf, look at tennis, where there’s a circuit,” Sun said Friday during the first day of main-draw action.. “It’s always good to look forward to, whether it be one event or three events. Like in golf, everyone is talking about the Masters. Everything leads up to that, everything leads up to the British Open.
“We have three perfect locations to elevate. One just happens to be on the West Coast – Manhattan Beach – one in the central U.S., which is Chicago. … And one in New York, the largest media market in the world. So it just kind of lined up perfectly, to have what we call the Gold Series.”
It’s all about increasing the strength of beach volleyball and the AVP, which Sun took over in 2012 after the governing body had a one-year hiatus.
“Just elevating the brand, elevating the sport to a different level,” he said. “Where this is going to take us, I don’t know. I just have a feeling that it seems to line up perfectly in terms of all those things I just talked about – geographics, media markets, enthusiasm for volleyball.”
Sun correctly pointed out that the Gold Series consists of “very, very well-known cities in the U.S. – iconic cities, iconic locations in the U.S.”
The Manhattan Beach Open is in its 58th year.
HERMOSA BEACH SUCCESS
The AVP had not been in Hermosa Beach since 2010. Its return in July had terrific crowds, and now Sun is in love with the event.
“I think that’s already become my favorite event and I’ve only had one of those,” he said. “To me, it was amazing because Thursday – qualifier day – felt like a Friday anywhere else.
And Friday’s main draw felt like a Saturday anywhere else.
“It was electric, to say the least, in terms of feel of not only the pro side going, but you also had our junior side going, so it’s just volleyball all over the place.”
Again, the crowds were impressive.
“I think the community of Hermosa was really looking forward to us coming back,” Sun said. “They came out in full force and, obviously, there was a lot of gripping play. … The weather was perfect. It was amazing.”
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