07/13/20: AVP serves up return

 

Medias First Morning Read
Monday July 13, 2020

As multiple sports plot their returns over the next few weeks, AVP is serving up its own modified season with the launch of the AVP Champions Cup Series starting July 18 out of Long Beach, CA. Designed to replace the 2020 AVP Pro season, the three part series spans three consecutive weekends with a 12-team qualification cap and each event running separately with a $200,000 purse plus a $100,000 bonus pool up for grabs for the teams with the top finishes. Amazon Prime Video offers comprehensive live coverage while NBC will present an early round men’s match on July 18th (2-3p) and the women’s final on July 19 (1:30-3p). NBCSN will present one finals match in the second and third weekends, respectively, which will also be simulcast on Amazon Prime Video.

Cynopsis Sports asked Donald Sun, owner/CEO, AVP, about the sport’s return to competitive play.

Sun on the pandemic: Since the very beginning, we have been committed to finding a way to give our athletes and fans AVP pro beach volleyball in 2020. We continued to monitor the situation and make adjustments to our schedule, but, once local and state governments began to prohibit fan-attended events due to the lasting effects of COVID-19, we decided that we needed to get creative because unfortunately, a traveling, nation-wide sports tour just wasn’t going to be possible under current regulations. It was then that we really leaned on our leadership team to work through all different kinds of scenarios — no idea was too big or too small. Our virtual war room was a 24-hour creative think tank.

On revising plans: Our leadership developed a solution that would allow us to run a series of events in one location in CA this summer. This option leverages the strength of our media partners to bring pro beach volleyball to fans globally while providing a safe platform for our top athletes to compete and earn a living in 2020. It should be noted that the AVP will be the only professional entity running any kind of beach volleyball programming in the 2020 season.

On partnerships: All of our existing sponsors were ready and energized to make this a success and we were able to rework deals and find new ways for them to support. As for new partners, this event series has given us an opportunity to approach new brands with a great way for them to test and try a new audience. With not many other pro sports able to compete with such a manageable footprint, we felt that we were in a great position to welcome new brands to the table for this special series.

On 2021: Our focus right now is to use 2020 and this new event series to propel us into a bigger and better 2021. We are always working to grow the sport and expand our reach and we hope that with not many other options for live sports right now we gain some new fans over the summer.

PROGRAMMING

The NHL is heading to Canada to resume play, heading to Toronto and Edmonton to serve as the hub cities for the 24-team Cup Qualifiers and the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 12 Eastern Conference teams will be based in Toronto while the 12 Western Conference teams will play in Edmonton. Edmonton will also host the Eastern Conference Final, Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 22 and will end no later than Oct. 4. According to the league, each venue will host up to three games a day with a potential 52 games being played over nine days during the Qualifiers. The start times for the Qualifiers in Toronto will be noon, 4p and 8p while western games will run at 2p, 6:30p and 10:30p.

In addition, the NHL will also poised to return to competing in the Olympics in 2022 and 2026. Participation is pending an agreement between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation.

The Pac-12 firmed up its fall competitive sports plans, revealing that the fall season for several Pac-12 sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, would now shift to Conference-only games, with mandatory athletic activities delayed, until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities. “The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

Tonight sees GOLF Channel, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Sports Regional Networks and the Olympic Channel all deliver Race and Sports in America: Conversations a roundtable discussion special at 8p that will include celebrity athletes such as Stephen Curry and Charles Barkley. Damon Hack hosts, with the event and filmed last Thursday at the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.

MLB Network spotlights Al Michaels on the next installment of The Sounds of Baseball tonight at 7p. Co-hosted by MLB Network’s Bob Costas and Tom Verducci, the episode will relive the greatest moments and calls from Michaels’ baseball broadcast career, which included play-by-play roles with the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and eight World Series.

The 20th anniversary season of Major League Lacrosse is set to run on ESPN2 and ESPN+, beginning Saturday. The abbreviated season will be played at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, in Annapolis, and include 15 games, followed by a four-team playoff (July 25), concluding with the championship game on July 26, at 2p on ESPN2. Play-by-play commentators Joe Beninati and Booker Corrigan, analysts Quint Kessenich and Don Zimmerman, and reporter Courtney Fallon will be on-site for the duration of the season.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The UFC is tapping combat sports brand Venum to serve as its new exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner, replacing Reebok with the partnership launching in April 2021. “We’re pumped that VENUM will be joining us as our new exclusive global outfitting and apparel partner,” said UFC President Dana White. “VENUM is an Iconic combat sports brand that understands the unique needs of MMA athletes. Franck Dupuis and his team at VENUM have the technical knowledge and experience that will produce world-class UFC Fight Kits and apparel. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them on this next evolution of UFC’s outfitting program.”

IT company Atos extended its Worldwide Olympic Partnership deal with the International Olympic Committee for another four years, with the partnership now running through the end of 2024. The company’s previous deal was poised to expire after Tokyo 2020.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Electronic Arts revealed EA SPORTS UFC 4 will see UFC middleweight champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya and UFC welterweight contender Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal serve as the game’s official cover athlete duo. The next game in the game franchise features an all-new unified progression system, overhauled takedown and ground mechanics, more fluid clinch-to-strike combinations and the chance to experience the origins of combat sports in all-new environments, UFC 4 delivers the most polished mixed martial arts experience to date.

ESPORTS

Team Liquid’s Liquid Apparel launched an exclusive collection of customizable Marvel-themed jerseys, hoodies and zip jackets featuring new designs and characters from X-Men and The Avengers. The capsule will commemorate Team Liquid’s ongoing partnership with Marvel Entertainment and the collection will be priced between $84 (jerseys) and $99 (hoodies) and available in the Team Liquid Store.

A California judge dismissed Turner “Tfue” Tenney’s original complaint against his former team FaZe Clan, per THR. The complaint claimed that the organization had operated as an unlicensed agency in violation of California’s Talent Agencies Act in addition to blocking potential business opportunities, and collecting as much as 80 percent of Tenney’s earnings. FaZe filed its own countersuit in New York, claiming that Tenney breached his contract in addition to unjust enrichment.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Major League Soccer will allow private equity financing in a move to boost league capital, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told CNBC. Garber announced the move noting the league is “pretty close to finalizing something” that will allow private equity financing that “could come into investing with our local teams.”

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MGR
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Ring2Media: Great opportunity for a passionate person to learn how TV advertising works from ground up. Having strong analytical skills, you will own the day-to-day operations of our insurance-focused TV ad campaigns airing nationally. Highly organized & able to multi-task in fast-paced environment a must. Full info HERE (7/18)

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