The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has joined forces with Dutch agency Sportworx to launch a new series which it claims will revolutionise beach volleyball.
The King of the Court Crown Series 2018 will launch at four venues in September, with a total of $450,000 (€381,000) of prize money on offer. The Series will consist of four stages that will run consecutively.
FIVB and Sportworx said the venues were picked for their outstanding facilities and importance to the international beach volleyball community. Floodlit arenas in high-end stadium settings will also seek to add to the significance and drama of the events.
The series will commence on September 7 at Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht, the Netherlands, before moving on to an unconfirmed location in Belgium on the following day. The series will then head to the United States with events from September 14-16 at Fort deRussy, Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Huntington Beach Pier in California on September 22-23.
The European leg will involve 15 of the best men’s teams, while at the AVP Hawai’i Invitational, on the Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, 15 top men’s teams will be joined by 15 of the best women’s. At Huntington Pier, 20 men’s and 20 women’s teams will compete, with both events organised in collaboration with the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP).
King of the Court has long been played as a training game but for the first time in the history of the sport Sportworx has created a pro-level competition, sanctioned by the FIVB. The format was finalised by Sportworx and a collaboration of players and the FIVB after a trial event held in June 2017 in Utrecht.
FIVB president Ary Graça said: “The project presents beach volleyball in a completely different format, with as many as five countries competing at once. I believe it has great potential and we will continue to bring new concepts and ideas to the sport to ensure the best possible experience for both the athletes and spectators.
“The positive feedback we have received so far from the players proves the importance of this new series, which is providing more opportunities for the athletes to play.”
Wilco Nijland, chief operating officer at Sportworx and creator of the King of the Court Crown Series, added: “We love beach volleyball and want to contribute to its future. We believe our elimination-style beach volleyball race will deliver an engaging action-packed experience for both players and fans.”