SBD/January 6, 2011/Events and Attractions

Rival Groups Look To Restore Manhattan Beach V'Ball Tourney

Manhattan Beach Open was held last year with help from city after AVP's collapse
Several parties are "looking to take control" of the Manhattan Beach Open, the "nation's top beach volleyball tournament," including USA Volleyball, several sports marketing firms and the lead AVP Tour creditor, according to David Nusbaum of the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Manhattan Beach Open had been part of the AVP Tour before the league declared bankruptcy last summer, and the Manhattan Beach City Council "was ready to move forward with a plan at its Dec. 21 meeting to give control of the tournament to a joint venture" between USA Volleyball and IMG. However, that bid was "strongly opposed by two other companies," including L.A.-based Ion Sports, which "owns a cable network and the media rights to the Manhattan Beach event." The firms "had not fully developed a proposal, and the council postponed a decision until Jan. 18." Ion gained the media rights to the tourney after the AVP Tour shut down, and it "set up an event website and carried the tournament on its Ion Television cable channel" last year. The company also holds the "rights to the upcoming event and has an option for future ones." Ion CEO Dave Behar: "We are already invested in the Manhattan Beach brand, and we would like to continue building that relationship with the event and the town." Nusbaum notes Ion could "make its own bid or partner with Cleveland-based Elevation Group," an IMG spinoff. The city of Manhattan Beach last year "stepped in at the last minute and operated the tournament with help" from USA Volleyball Beach Programs Managing Dir Dave Williams. City officials "have pledged to find an operator that is financially stable and can attract top sponsors" ( L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/3 issue). 
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