NBA star Kevin Love, right, goes up against beach volleyball pro Sean Scott… (Jason DeCrow / Associated…)
Last August, the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series debuted a three-event tournament in an effort to revive pro beach volleyball’s foothold on domestic sand, a foothold that had started to sink when the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals shut down in the same month in 2010.
Well, Jose Cuervo’s 2011 series was a hit, so much so that its 2012 schedule, set to be announced Thursday, offers more than twice as many events.
There will be seven all told: the first kicks off Memorial Day weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and three will take place in Southern California.
The three Southern California events are the Hermosa Beach Open on July 20-22; the Manhattan Beach Open on Aug. 24-26; and the Jose Cuervo National Championships in Huntington Beach on Sept. 21-22.
The inaugural series had a total purse of $500,000 last year. This year, it has increased to $600,000.
Here’s how that purse breaks down per event:
--Florida Open, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – May 25-27 – $75,000
--Belmar Open, Belmar, N.J. – June 22-24 – $75,000
--Chicago Open, Chicago, Ill. – July 13-15– $100,000
--Hermosa Beach Open, Cal. – July 20-22 – $100,000
--Milwaukee Shootout, Bradford Beach, Wis. – Aug. 4-5 – $60,000
--Manhattan Beach Open, Manhattan Beach – Aug. 24-26 – $100,000
--Jose Cuervo National Championships – Huntington Beach – Sept. 21-22 – $150,000
IMG, known for producing beach sporting events, such as the NikeU.S. Openof Surfing, and Jose Cuervo, which was among pro beach volleyball’s first corporate sponsors three decades ago, teamed with USA Volleyball to create the series in 2011.
However, this year, USA Volleyball, the sport’s governing body, will no longer be a partner; it will just sanction the events, as it does with other domestic pro beach volleyball tournaments, a USAV spokesperson said.
The other domestic series planned for 2012, to date, are the National Volleyball League and the Wide Open Tour, which last year was the Corona Light Wide Open Tour but is currently without a title sponsor.
The NVL lists six 2012 events on its site, including a stop in Long Beach on Aug. 17-19.
The Wide Open Tour lists eight 2012 events on its site, including stops at Huntington Beach on June 8-10; Hermosa Beach on July 6-8; and Manhattan Beach on Sept. 14-16.
It’s unclear which top players will be competing in the domestic events.
Many are overseas to play in the FIVB World Tour trying to secure bids to the 2012 London Olympics.
The expansion of the Jose Cuervo series bodes well for many domestic players who struggled to make ends meet after the AVP shut down.
Speaking of the AVP, the league was sold this month to Donald Sun, a 37-year-old Irvine native, for $2 million.
Sun, who said he’d like for AVP events to be televised again, said plans are still in the early stages, but he does foresee there being AVP events in 2012.