Last year, we lauded this event as the first international beach volleyball tournament hosted by the U.S. in a decade, but now, in year two, it is simply the second-annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, California, July 22-27.
An FIVB Grand Slam, amateur tournament, and music festival, the World Series promises to be another week of unparalleled playing and spectating opportunities for American beach volleyball pros and fans.
New this year, the grand slam features a $1 million purse, a bounty that ties the World Series with the 2014 Gstaad Grand Slam (July 8-13) for the largest payout in beach volleyball history. In year two, the organizers also chose to eliminate of the World Series Cup, a “U.S. versus the world” competition that seemed mostly to confuse spectators, although the match that pitted Kerri Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik against April Ross and Jen Kessy was a clear crowd favorite.
ASICS remains on board as the event’s title sponsor, and will be joined by returning sponsors Paul Mitchell, Bud Light, Mikasa, and MGM Grand Resorts. The only question that remains then is if we can still rely on the unlimited supply of hummus (a delicious part of last year’s event thanks to sponsor Sabra) to keep us satiated throughout the week.
Admission for spectators is still free, although for those willing to splurge, premium seating is available, allowing you access to sideline seating for matches and music performances, a lunch ticket to be redeemed at venue concession stands, and discounts on WSOBV merchandise.
World Series CEO and former AVP executive director Leonard Armato, along with a strong team that includes legendary player and ambassador to the sport Sinjin Smith and former pro Angie Akers, made sure to build the event around an opportunity for everyone to play, instead of simply making everything all about the pros. Many volleyball enthusiasts would prefer to play over spectate, a condition that explains much of the struggle of professional beach volleyball over the years, but Armato’s compromise of offering amateur playing opportunities (complete with regional qualifier tournaments across the country) does its best to convince even the most reluctant spectators to add the World Series to their calendar of events for the summer. The amateur competition component features doubles, fours, and sixes competitions for youth, college, and adult players as well as a clinic series coached by legendary players Holly McPeak and Barbara Fontana.
“Our aim is to create the biggest beach volleyball celebration in the world,” said Armato, “with the best players in the world competing at the highest level like the Olympic Games and also the biggest participatory assembly of people that just love to play the sport.”
Jennie Peters, a member of the WSOBV PR team, went further to described to unique character of the event, “Being able to play alongside those professionals, it’s like taking batting practice next to Derek Jeter. It really is a one of a kind thing.”
Friday, July 25
Men's and Women's Rd of 16 (NBC Sports Network) 3-5 p.m. ET
Men's Rd of 16 (Universal Sports Network) 4-5 p.m. ET
Women's Rd of 16 (Universal Sports Network) 5-6 p.m. ET
Men's Quarterfinals (Universal Sports Network) 8-9 p.m. ET
Saturday, July 26
Women's Quarterfinals (Universal Sports Network) 2-3 p.m. ET
Men's Semifinals (Universal Sports Network) 3-4 p.m. ET
Women's or Men's Semifinals (NBC) 4:30-6 p.m. ET
Men's Semifinals (Universal Sports Network) 9-10 p.m. ET
Women's Semifinals (Universal Sports Network) 10-11 p.m. ET
Women's/Men's Semifinals (NBC Sports Network) 11-12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 27
Women's Bronze (Universal Sports Network) 1-2 p.m. ET
Men's Bronze (Universal Sports Network) 2-3 p.m. ET
Women's or Men's Final (NBC) 3:30-5 p.m. ET
Women's Final (Universal Sports Network) 8:30-9:30 p.m. ET
Men's Final (Universal Sports Network) 9:30-10:30 p.m. ET
WSOBV Coed 4s Championships
Friday, July 25
WSOBV 6-Man Championships
Single Gender: Saturday, July 26
Coed: Sunday, July 27
USAV Junior Beach Tour West Coast Classic
Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24
Boys’ and girls’ 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U
ASICS Club 6-Man Youth Championships
Thursday, July 24
Boys’ and girls’ 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U
Sunday, July 27
Volleyball's music contributor DJ Roueche comments on the WSOBV lineup: "Having these artists at the WSOBV is a great way for the fans to discover new music and the bands to be exposed to an international audience. MAGIC! has the perfect beach vibe on their new single 'Rude' and I’m excited to hear Fun.’s lead guitarist Jack Antonoff’s new project, Bleachers."