Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Beach volleyball may land in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Those memorable spikes, dives and grunts from the 2012 Olympics beach volleyball matches may possibly be seen and heard here later this year.

Representatives of the Association of Volleyball Professionals, including owner Donald Sun, are scheduled to visit Thursday to consider the city as a potential tournament location.

"It looks like they are scouting sites in downtown," said Dave Punzak, chairman of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sun, a former technology CEO from California, bought the financially troubled league for a reported $2 million last year and staged two tournaments in Santa Barbara, Calif. and Cincinnati.

He told ESPN at the time that he hoped to have four to six tournaments in 2013, the year the AVP turns 30. More than 170 male and female professional and aspiring professional players competed in the three-day tournament in Cincinnati, including Jen Kessy, who won a silver for the USA in London.

"They averaged about 30,000 spectators over three days," said Mario Farias, the local consultant organizing the AVP tour, referring to the Cincinnati tournament. Spectators, athletes and everyone else involved in such a tournament could equate to 1,200 hotel stays locally, he added.

—Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer

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