While the reigning queens and kings of the beach were defending their titles in Manhattan Beach, Calif. this weekend, the Association of Volleyball Professionals, in partnership with AEG, will be taking the sand sport indoors next winter on an extended tour.
With its first serve set to be fired on Jan. 10, 2008 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, the "AVP Hot Winter Nights" tour will make 17 other stops, largely in the midwest and northeast, before concluding Feb.23 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Officials at the AVP, which receives TV coverage from FSN and NBC Sports as both organizations have investment stakes in the beach volleyball organization, said over 200 tons of sand will be dropped at the various venues, which will play host to three hours of two-player team competition and a “beach festival.”
The upcoming tour is by far the most extensive effort by the sand sport to take its act indoors and out of its warm-weather outdoor haunts. In February, the AVP held an exhibition in Albany, New York that was won by Kerri Walsh and Jake Gibb and was available for broadband viewing on AVP.com. A decade ago, the AVP held indoor matches at Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In addition to Walsh and Gibb, other AVP Crocs Tour stalwarts that are expected to compete indoors include Elaine Youngs, Sean Rosenthal, Stein Metzger, Phil Dalhauser, Todd Rogers and Misty May-Treanor.
Walsh and May-Treanor won their third consecutive Manhattan Beach title on Aug. 11, while Dalhauser/Rogers defended their 2006 crowns the following day at the venue known as the Wimbledon of beach volleyball.
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