April 17, 2009: The Association of Volleyball Professionals over the past few weeks has unveiled sponsorship extensions with such key marketing partners as Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), AVP Tour title sponsor Crocs, Russell Athletic, John Paul Mitchell Systems and media partner NBC Sports.
The extensions have come with AVP at an integral crossroad. There has been upheaval at the executive level, with AVP commissioner and CEO Leonard Armato resigning and being replaced by COO Jason Hodell. And there is uncertainty at the star level with AVP's two biggest drawing attractions, two-time gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, expected to miss all or most of the 2009 season: May-Treanor suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon late last year while filming ABC's Dancing with the Stars. In May, Walsh is expecting her first child. May-Treanor and Walsh lead the AVP with 105 and 103 career wins, respectively, including 12 of the 17 tour events last year. Holly McPeak, who is married to former CEO Armato is third on the all-time list with 72 career victories.
On the men's side, Olympic gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, are among the game's elite, but analysts agree that it's the women who attract the most attention and draw the biggest crowds. New stars might arise from a just-launched reality-type series at AVP.com, Transition, in which McPeak will train eight former college volleyball standouts to take their skills from indoor hardwood courts to outdoor on the beach. AVP is also looking to generate new fans via its just-released online fantasy game, being powered by RotoHog. As part of NBC's extension, it will promote its coverage of 2009 tour events this summer at Brooklyn, NY; Hermosa Beach, Calif.; and Chicago. Back to Home Page