Association of Volleyball Professionals

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Association of Volleyball Professionals
Sport Beach volleyball
Founded 1983
CEO Donald Sun
Country United States
TV partner(s) NBC
Official website

The Association of Volleyball Professionals, or AVP, is the United States' premier beach volleyball tour, headquartered in Newport Beach, California. Every U.S. beach volleyball Olympic medalist has toured with the AVP throughout their career, including gold medalists Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. The 2016 season, the AVP's 33rd, will run from April through September. The season will consist of tour stops in eight cities across the United States, including an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Olympic-qualifying event.

After a 2010 reorganization [1] overseen by the investment group RJSM Partners, the tour resumed operations on October 22, 2011 in Huntington Beach for its inaugural AVP Championships event. RJSM Partners, which was originally a minority investor in AVP,[2] had a controlling interest starting April 2009 [3] until 100% of AVP's assets were purchased by AOS Group, LP. in 2012. Additional events under a new operational model were held in 2012, including the AVP Cincinnati Open, held Aug. 30 - Sept. 2 in Cincinnati, Ohio and the AVP Championships, held Sept. 7 - 9 in Santa Barbara, Calif.


The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) began on July 21, 1983, as an official players association to negotiate with private tournament promoters.The first AVP logo was designed by Ken Jencks and Steve Fisher of the Manhattan Beach Recreation Department. A few years later, a revised logo was designed by Rick Jurk. The current AVP logo includes a black and yellow jump man and volleyball.

One of the earliest tour sponsors was Miller Lite beer and play involved a double-elimination format, with select tournaments sponsored by Jose Cuervo tequila offering additional prize money and a unique format that narrowed the field to the top 8 teams, which then played in a round-robin to determine the top two teams for the championship match. Only men were allowed to compete on the tour in the early years. The AVP added women's events in 1993 and '94 while the main women's tour, the Women's Professional Volleyball Association struggled. The WPVA, which had a separate sponsorship with Coors, ceased operations in 1997, and the AVP included women from 1999 on.

The men's teams with the most wins in the history of the tour include Jim Menges/Greg Lee (1970s), Sinjin Smith/Randy Stoklos (1980s), Karch Kiraly/Kent Steffes (1990s), and Todd Rogers/Phil Dalhausser (2000s). After the merger of the AVP and the WPVA/BVA, the top women's teams include Holly McPeak/Nancy Reno (1990s) and then McPeak with Elaine Youngs (1990s), Misty May/Kerri Walsh, and Elaine Youngs/Nicole Branagh (2000s), along with Rachel Wacholder-Scott and Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.

Notable players[edit]



Significant moments in history[edit]


  • 1983 On July 21, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is formed to protect players' interests and to preserve the integrity of beach volleyball.
  • 1984 Players strike at the World Championships in Redondo Beach. The AVP begins running its own tour.
  • 1985 Bolle Sunglasses joins the AVP as a major sponsor. The total tour prize money reaches $275,000.
  • 1985 The AVP Tour includes stops in eight states ( California, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Hawaii).
  • 1986 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball receives cable television coverage via "Prime Ticket", and Pro Beach Volleyball makes its network debut on ABC's Wide World of Sports.
  • 1988 The AVP awards cash prizes for twenty-seven tournaments. The AVP signs a three-year contract with Miller that results in a total of $4.5 million in prize money. Miller hires the AVP to produce twenty-three Lite Beer events.


The early to mid 1990s are seen by many as the "glory years" of the AVP as the tour corporate sponsorship, and thus, prize money, was at its peak. This period was largely dominated by the team of volleyball legend Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes. The AVP also begun to hold women's events, competing with the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) tour.

  • 1990 NBC Sports makes its debut on the beach volleyball scene, broadcasting the Hermosa Beach event.
  • 1991 The AVP adds the King of the Beach Event to their schedule. This event features a unique format where players play round-robin with different partners to determine the "King of the Beach." One of the event's creators, Karch Kiraly, wins the inaugural title.
  • 1991 NBC Sports provides the first live coverage of an AVP tournament in Milwaukee.
  • 1993 NBC Sports broadcasts a record ten AVP Tour events in a year in which prize money totals $3.7 million and more than 600,000 people attend AVP tournaments.
  • 1993 AVP holds women's events at sixteen of the men's tour stops. In a unique format, eight players comprising four teams, exchanging partners weekly, battle all season with prize money paid at the end of the year. Holly McPeak wins the tour championship with eleven victories to claim the $65,000 first prize.
  • 1994 The Miller Lite/AVP Tour and its twenty-seven events approach the $4 million mark in total prize money. Evian and Nestea join the growing list of AVP sponsors with Evian opting for an indoor event in Madison Square Garden.
  • 1994 NBC's total broadcast time climbs to twenty-one hours for ten events.
  • 1995 The Miller Lite/AVP Tour grows to a record twenty-nine tournaments. The Evian Indoor Series becomes a full pre-season circuit, with events in Washington, DC, Boston, Minneapolis and New York.
  • 1996 AVP teams dominate the U.S. Olympic Trials in Baltimore with the teams of Karch Kiraly/Kent Steffes and Mike Dodd/ Mike Whitmarsh advancing as the U.S. Olympic Team representatives.
  • 1997 The 38th annual Manhattan Beach Open is canceled due to legal issues and a lawsuit brought against the City of Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County, and the AVP by a small local interest group. The event is moved down the coast to Hermosa Beach and renamed the Miller Lite Hermosa Beach Grand Slam.
  • 1997 The AVP business collapses under mounting financial problems. AVP CEO Jerry Solomon is fired and Harry Usher, former US Olympic organizer is hired to run 1998 AVP Tour.
  • 1998 Prize money is drastically cut as sponsors pull back on their support of the AVP. The AVP continues to struggle under extreme financial burden.
  • 1998 Bill Berger and Dan Vrebalovich take over management of the AVP as CEO and COO respectively. They immediately fund the day-to-day business, and begin to restructure the AVP from a players association to a for-profit, privately owned entity. The AVP is placed into chapter 11 bankruptcy, the players are signed to new long-term agreements as independent contractors and a long-term turnaround deal is agreed to by the AVP's creditors.
  • 1999 Berger and Vrebalovich form a partnership with Spencer Trask Securities to form Major League Volleyball. MLV purchases the AVP out of bankruptcy and funds the 1999 Tour. The AVP holds twelve events with a total of $1 million prize money.
  • 1999 The AVP once again sanctions women's events at five men's tournament tour stops. At the season ending event, combined with the King of the Beach, Holly McPeak is crowned Queen of the Beach.

2000 and Up[edit]

  • 2000 In a season of parity, eight different teams win tournaments in the eleven event season. Brazilian's Jose Loiola and Emanuel Rego top the season with three victories.
  • 2001 AVP unites the world's best men's and women's professional beach volleyball players under one umbrella organization. With this historic unification of the men's and women's competition, the 2001 AVP Tour will be able to capitalize on having one property that can maximize sponsor dollars, marketing opportunities, media coverage and prize money. The AVP will now stand alone as the only professional beach volleyball tour in the country. It will follow the regulations set forth by USA Volleyball and the Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) and will allow its players to compete in official tournaments en route to the 2004 Olympics.
  • 2007 Hot Winter Nights, a series of 19 events in January and February, marks the first ever indoor beach volleyball tour.
  • 2010 The AVP undergoes a reorganization led by investment group RJSM Partners.
  • 2012 100% of AVP's assets were purchased by AOS Group, LP. AOS owner Donald Sun takes over as owner of the AVP in April. The AVP hosts two tournaments, including the AVP Open in Cincinnati, Ohio over Labor Day weekend and the AVP Championships in Santa Barbara, Calif. Sept. 7-9.
  • 2013 In honor of its 30th anniversary, the AVP put together a seven-city tour.

Current events[edit]

Under new ownership, 2012 marked the return of the AVP tour including two stops, the AVP Open in Cincinnati, Ohio over Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30 – Sept. 2) and the AVP Championships in Santa Barbara, Calif. held Sept. 7–9. The AVP returned to Cincinnati for the first time since 1998, where 56 teams for the men's side and 34 teams for the women's side competed in the open tournament format. John Hyden and Sean Scott prevailed in a two-set victory over Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena (21–17, 21–16) to take home the title and $20,000, capping off a dominating performance in which they defeated London 2012 Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in the semi-finals. It was the 8th tour win for Hyden and 10th for Scott. On the women's side, fresh off a silver medal performance in the London 2012 Olympics, Jen Kessy and April Ross defeated gold-medalist Kerri Walsh and new partner Nicole Branagh in the title game, going undefeated in the tournament and also giving them $20,000 in prize money.

Following the Open, the top 12 teams from the men's and women's side were invited to play in the AVP Championships, hosted at West Beach in Santa Barbara, Calif. Rebounding from a sixth-place finish in Cincinnati, it was Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal taking home first place and their cut of a record $250,000 in prize money. Gibb/Rosenthal took down Braidy Halverson/Ty Loomis and Billy Allen/Matt Prosser in pool play before falling to Hyden and Scott. Gibb and Rosie then squeaked past Dalhauser and Rogers in a thrilling three set match to garner a rematch with Hyden/Scott in the semifinals. After dropping the first set, 19–21, Gibb and Rosie fought back, taking the next two sets 21–18, 15–13, setting them up for a showdown with Brad Keenan and John Mayer in the championship. In the best of five sets, Gibb/Rosenthal dominated, winning 21–16, 21–16, 21–17, earning them the title of 2012 AVP Champions and $45,000 in prize money.

For the women, Kessy and Ross continued their dominating performance on the sand, taking down Olaya Pazo/Kendra Van Zwieten, Angie Akers/Brittany Hochevar and Brooke Niles/Tyra Turner in pool play. Kessy and Ross then proceeded to cruise past Jenny Kropp and Whiteney Pavlik, 21–14, 21–12, in the semifinals, setting up a rematch of the Cincinnati Open championship match with Kerri Walsh and Nicole Branagh. It was the same result with Kessy/Ross coming out on top, 21-19, 21–16. By going undefeated in the tournament, Kessy and Ross took home the maximum amount of prize money available of $47,500.


The 2013 tour consisted of seven city stops and returned to television for the first time since 2010:[4]


The 2014 season was one of the most compelling in memory as the team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won every single event, dropping only three sets along the way. The men’s side featured slightly more parity with the team of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson winning four of the seven events.

St. Petersburg Open – May 29th-Jun 1st[edit]

In the opening event of the 2014 AVP Tour, Kerri Walsh Jennings set an AVP women’s record with her 67th career tournament victory. She and partner April Ross defeated Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick 19–21, 21–15, 15–11 in the women’s final while Brad Keenan and John Mayer upset top-seeded Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson 16–21, 21–19, 18–16 on the men’s side. With their victories, Ross and Keenan became the third husband-and-wife duo to win an AVP tournament on the same weekend. It was also Keenan’s first AVP title.

Milwaukee Open – July 3rd-July 6th[edit]

In the first AVP event in Milwaukee since 1998, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross took home the women’s title, while Tri Bourne and John Hyden earned the men’s title. The women’s final saw the top two seeded women’s teams face off, with top-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and teammate April Ross, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, prevailing over Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, 15–21, 21–16, 15–13.

Already the all-time winningest female player in beach volleyball history with 118 career victories, Walsh Jennings’ win in Milwaukee tied her for the all-time lead in U.S. tournament wins with 69, a record she now shares with her longtime former partner, Misty May-Treanor.

Bourne and Hyden defeated Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal, 21-15, 21–18 to earn the team’s second win since partnering in 2013. For the veteran Hyden, the win marked his 23rd open title. It was the first AVP win for Bourne.

Salt Lake City Open – Aug 7th–10th[edit]

Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson seized their first AVP title of the season defeating Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena in an intense 3 set final, 17–21, 21–17, 17–15. Gibb and Patterson came back from a 14–10 deficit in the 3rd set to seize victory. April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings continued their winning streak and seized their third AVP title of the season, defeating second-seeded team Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat in 2 sets, 21-16, 21–15.

Manhattan Beach Open – Aug 14th–17th[edit]

Three-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and Manhattan Beach resident Kerri Walsh Jennings set an AVP Manhattan Beach Open record with her seventh career victory at the AVP tour’s crown jewel event, teaming with 2012 Olympic silver medalist April Ross to defeat Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, 19–21, 21–13, 9–0 (retired), in the women’s final at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Sixth-seeded veterans Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal, the 2013 AVP Manhattan Beach Open runners-up, claimed their second AVP men’s title, and eighth title worldwide, together, 21-17, 21–14, over Theo Brunner and Todd Rogers.

Cincinnati Open – Aug 28th-Aug 31st[edit]

In front of a frenzied crowd, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings extended their perfect season, winning their fifth championship in as many tournaments. The win improved their match record to 26–0 on the season.

In the women’s final, Walsh Jennings and Ross, seeded first, toppled second-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat – their opponent in all four previous finals this season – 21-14, 21–15. The victory was the third individually in Ohio for both Walsh Jennings and Ross, and their first in the state as teammates.

On the men’s side, second-seeded Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson captured their second straight AVP Cincinnati Open and their second AVP title in the last three tournaments with a 21–13, 23–21 victory over sixth-seeded Nick Lucena and Ryan Doherty.

Atlantic City Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational – Sept 5th–7th[edit]

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, and Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson – both the No. 1 seeds in Atlantic City – won the women’s and men’s titles at the AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational.

In the men’s final, Gibb and Patterson rolled past the third-seeded team of Ryan Doherty and Nick Lucena, 21-15, 21–14, defending their AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational title and becoming the first men’s team to win three titles in 2014.

Olympians Walsh Jennings and Ross defeated second seeds Emily Day and Summer Ross 21-19, 21–12 in the title match.

AVP Championships at Huntington Beach – Sept 18th–21st[edit]

Top-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross completed a perfect 2014 AVP Tour season with a 22–20, 21–17 triumph over sixth-seeded Whitney Pavlik and Heather Hughes in the final of the $200,000 AVP Championships at Huntington Beach.

After the match Kerri Walsh Jennings summed up the perfect season thusly: “It’s an interesting thing when you’re supposed to win every single weekend, and everyone generally plays lights out against us. To have accomplished it and to have done it together as a new team, chasing big dreams, it feels really, really good. It’s something I definitely want to celebrate and acknowledge. It’s just a good push for us, confidence wise, and in every way because we’ve grown so much on our push toward Rio (2016 Olympic Games).”

In the men’s draw, top-seeds and Huntington Beach residents Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson gained wrapped up their season title in fine style with a 21–16, 15–21, 15–10 finals victory over No. 3 seed Tri Bourne and John Hyden, their third consecutive win. “It’s a huge momentum shift from the beginning of the season until now,” Patterson said. “I feel like we’re playing at the same level but we’re playing together as a team better now. We’re executing game plans better now. I went from having one tour win in the last six years of playing to having eight in two years. It’s kind of like a dream come true for me, to be able to play with Jake, a guy I always looked up to, and to be able to have such good team chemistry from the start.”


2015 season expectations for the women were altered drastically when top-ranked player, Kerri Walsh-Jennings, was forced to withdraw early on due to a shoulder injury, leaving partner April Ross with no choice but to pair with 3 different partners (Kerri Walsh Jennings, Jennifer Fopma and Lauren Fendrick) throughout the tour. Ross prevailed despite the circumstances, winning 4 of 8 event titles, the only AVP athlete ever to win four titles with three different partners in a single season, a feat which no doubt secured her win for 2015 AVP MVP. On the men's side, Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb performed strong, clinching the first 3 events, including the gold medal at the FIVB Grand Slam in St. Petersburg, Florida. However, partners John Hyden and Tri Bourne gained momentum toward the tail end of the tour to win the final 2 events, including the AVP Championships in Huntington Beach.

New Orleans Open – May 22nd–24th[edit]

The opening event of the 2015 tour saw top-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings and partner April Ross win their 8th consecutive AVP title as a duo, beating out Jen Kessy and her new partner Emily Day in the finals, 21-16, 22–20. Similarly, the top-seeded men's team, Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb, nabbed their 4th consecutive AVP title, beating out Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal in 2 sets, 23-21, 21–14.

St. Petersburg FIVB Grand Slam Presented by the AVP – Jun 16th–21st[edit]

The 2015 AVP tour hosted its first international grand slam as part of the prestigious FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour since coming under new ownership in 2012. The large-scale event served as a qualification event for the 2016 Olympics, where top Olympic hopefuls from 20+ countries battled it out on the sand for $800,000 in prize money and points towards their Olympic Ranking. The U.S.A.'s own Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb swept through the tournament undefeated to take home the gold medal, defeating Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands in an exciting 3 set finals match, 16–21, 23–21, 15–13. Also representing the U.S.A., 26th-seeded team Nick Lucena and partner Theo Brunner defeated the 7th-seeded Austrian hopefuls Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst to take home bronze. On the women's side, U.S.A. teams Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, Emily Day and Jennifer Kessy, Nicole Branagh and partner Jennifer Fopma all tied for ninth place and a total of 33,000 dollars in prize money.

New York City Open – July 17th–19th[edit]

Outside of Brooklyn in 2009 when both genders played, the 2015 AVP New York City Open was the first since the women’s teams played in 1995 and the men played in 1983. Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb continued their winning streak, defeating 7-foot player Ryan Doherty and partner John Mayer in an exciting 3 set finals match, 19–21, 21–15, 15–12. Amateur USC collegiate players Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes upset the women's bracket, advancing all the way to the semi-finals before being defeated by USC alumna Jennifer Kessy and partner Emily Day in a 3 set match, 30–28, 18–21, 15–10. Kessy and Day advanced to the finals to claim their first title of the AVP season in a very close 3-set match up against Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp, 24-22, 19–21, 23–21.

Seattle Open – Aug 7th–9th[edit]

The AVP created a stir in Seattle when it was announced that retired 3x-Olympic gold medalist, Misty May-Treanor, would enter the tournament as a wildcard contender alongside friend and fellow Cal State Long Beach alumna Brittany Hochevar. The last-minute pair advanced all the way to the semi-finals before being defeated by Summer Ross and Lane Carico, 21-12, 21–13. The women's finals then saw April Ross and her new partner Jennifer Fopma match up against Summer Ross and Lane Carico. Ross and Fopma defeated the pair 21-18, 15–21, 15–13, earning April Ross her 2nd title of the season. However, the second-place finish was Carico's personal best showing at an AVP event and a major coming out for her and new partner Summer Ross. Men's 4th-seeded teammates, Ryan Doherty and John Mayer, surpassed the top 3 seeded teams, winning their first AVP title as partners, and Doherty's first AVP title ever, in a 3-set match against Olympic gold medalist Phil Dalhausser and partner Nick Lucena, 20–22, 21–17, 15–13.

Manhattan Beach Open – Aug 14th–16th[edit]

In its 55th year anniversary, the Manhattan Beach Open men's final saw Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena defeat John Hyden and Tri Bourne in 2 sets, 21-19, 21–17, marking Dalhausser's 5th time receiving the title and Lucena's first. The women's bracket came to a close with April Ross and Jennifer Fopma defeating Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp, 21-15, 26–24. This marked Ross' 2nd time winning the prestigious title and Fopma's first.

Chicago Open – Aug 28th–30th[edit]

Brad Keenan and Ty Tramblie won their first title of the season in the men's final, upsetting top-seeded opponents Ryan Doherty and John Mayer in 2 sets, 21-19, 22–20. The event marked Tramblie's first ever AVP title. On the women's side, Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp advanced to their third finals match of the season and clinched their first season title defeating Kim DiCello and Kendra Van Zwieten in a 2 set match, 21–16, 21–19. The event marked Branagh's 17th AVP title in a career span of 11 years.

Cincinnati Open – Sept 4th–6th[edit]

2015 marked AVP's tenth consecutive year touring in Cincinnati, Ohio. Newcomers Kelley Larsen and Betsi Metter-Flint became the youngest team to win an AVP event with a combined 46 years, 4 months, and 27 days between them. Seeded at seventh, they swept through the tournament undefeated beating out the second, third, fourth, and sixth-seeded teams, ultimately defeating Angela Bensend and Geena Urango in a 3 set finals match, 21–13, 18–21, 15–7. In the men's bracket, John Hyden and Tri Bourne defeated top-seeded Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb twice throughout the tournament, including a 2-set finals match at 21–15, 21–18. It marked the duos first AVP title of the season.

Huntington Beach Championships – Sept 11th–13th[edit]

Retired player Misty May-Treanor shook up the women's bracket once more, opting to tourney as a wildcard entry with partner Brittany Hochevar. The duo lost their first match but battled through the contenders bracket all the way to the semi-finals. The women's finals match saw April Ross and her third partner of the season, Lauren Fendrick, defeat Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp in 2 sets, 21-19, 23–21. This marked Ross' fourth AVP title with 1 of 3 different partners over the course of the season. The AVP men's championship final saw John Hyden and Tri Bourne claim their second title of the season, defeating Ryan Doherty and John Mayer in 3 sets, 21-17, 23–25, 15–13. Hyden explained that "winning back-to-back events was big, because [they] had never done that before” as a team. The victory also marked the first AVP championship title for both players.


  1. ^ Landes, Matt. "2010 season cut short". AVP website. Association of Volleyball Professionals. Retrieved 13 August 2010. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "AVP, Inc. Announces Completion of $3.5 Million Financing and Hiring of New COO/CFO" (September 9, 2008)
  3. ^ Lefton, Terry. "RJSM taking controlling interest at AVP" Sports Business Journal (April 20, 2009)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 

External links[edit]