The Last Word About Beach Volleyball

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As many people know, last week the most famous beach volleyball in the world, the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour in the US folded half way through its season.  As the wheels have started to fall off in the last few weeks debate has increased about how a beach volleyball tour can be sustainable or not.  This debate has often returned to one central point, whether beach volleyball is (or should be) marketed as a performance sport or a lifestyle sport.

Perhaps the guy speaking at around the 2:21 mark of this clip should have the last word (I want to say it’s Gene Selznick, but I’m not sure).


  1. How does Surfing manage to do it? It seems quite professional, but still has that “lifestyle” charm about it. Maybe it’s just the way they present it? Whatever they do, it works.


    1. The Net Live talked quite a lot about the fact that AVP has never made a profit. Or even broke even. Perhaps therefore it needs an ‘investor’ prepared to use the whole tour as an advertising vehicle (ie prepared to lose money on the tour itself). Surfing has a whole industry behind it, perhaps working on that model.
      Perhaps surfing is just cooler.


      1. oddly the “industry” of surfing was something that only started in the 60s that kind of grew hand in hand with the surfing tour. there would seem to be some gladwell-ian “tipping point” good fortune that allowed both to grow like that.

        perhaps the products that surfing sponsors make are just cooler than those that volleyball sponsors make.


    2. Is part of surfing’s success is that it is used to sell boards and wetsuits and beachwear that sometimes doubles as streetwear? Whereas beach volleyball is never going to sell a lot of nets and balls and has a fair bit of competition in the beachwear as streetwear market?


  2. That’s a great quote (and it is Gene Selznick) at 2:21.

    The thing that always puzzles me about about the whole ‘performance v lifestyle’ argument is that there is no one stopping people who prefer the lifestyle aspect of the sport. Stick with the lifestyle, don’t get involved in the performance. The thing about lifestyle sports though, is that as soon as money becomes involved they become ‘professional’ which, to all intents and purposes, is the same as ‘performance’. Because human beings are competitive there will always be people who are prepared to work hard in order to win, especially if there is money on the line. The problems usually arise from the fact that some people don’t want to work hard but still want to win.


    1. I think what they are talking about isn’t so much the participants choosing the performance road (as you say there will always be those people), but rather how it is promoted. Should it be promoted as a high performance sporting event with emphasis on the athletes, or should it be a great day at the beach where you can catch some volleyball while you’re there.


    2. i got the impression from the video that guys got into this to pick up women at the beach.

      surfing i reckon sits a little more on the professional side. they do make it about the athletes, but the way they promote the athletes in the media is one of laid back lifestyle competitors.

      maybe we just have to add surfing to the list of sports that are smarter than volleyball (orienteering may be in that category soon in SA).

      There are plenty of unsustainable organisations in indoor volleyball too though!


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