The Last of the AVP? Tough Times for Pro Beach Volleyball

The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is facing tough times just like anyone trying to make a buck these days. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the AVP Tour might not even make it through the last half of its season due to financial concerns. Tour CEO Jason Hodell stated that the problem has been with securing sponsorships, as if having to rename it "The AVP Nivea Tour" wasn't already enough proof.

While this isn't a huge shocker (pro beach volleyball has never been a huge draw on television or at events outside of Southern California), the tour still seemed to be going strong at the Huntington Beach Open in June.

Suspiciously optimistic statements from Hodell after the jump.

Misty May and Kerri Walsh meeting former President Bush in 2008. Who wouldn't pay to see this?
Misty May and Kerri Walsh meeting former President Bush in 2008. Who wouldn't pay to see this?

On July 21, the tour held a conference call with its players to discuss its financial woes and the possibility of an end to the 2010-11 season.

With sponsorship dollars tanking, the AVP has been wooing investors to put up some cash to save the tour.

"These investors see the value of the tour, the growth of beach volleyball, the quality of our sponsors and the successful season we have had to date," Hodell said in a press release.

Losing the AVP would be a huge blow to American beach volleyball culture. The tour has produced some of the best volleyball players on the planet, including Team U.S.A.'s two-time Olympic gold-medal champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, and fellow 2008 gold-medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers.

One of the AVP's principle investors is RJSM Partners, which became the tour's controlling interest in 2009.

"RJSM has invested heavily in beach volleyball," managing partner Nick Lewin said in a statement, "and we're in the middle of negotiating additional financing with the AVP to make it an even stronger property."

Stay tuned.

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