AVP Provides Final Chance to See Beach Volleyball Olympians Before Tokyo 2020


The AVP Gold Series Championships of beach volleyball hits Chicago this weekend and it’s all about last chances. As it’s Labor Day weekend, it’s the unofficial end of summer (and as every single automobile commercial on television will tell you, summer’s here but it’s over soon), as the beaches and pools will soon close.

And with the 2020 Olympics taking place in Tokyo next summer, this is your final chance to see Olympic beach volleyball in person. Chicago may not be known for beaches first and foremost (as summer here is notoriously short), but the second city has actually hosted more beach volleyball championships than any other city outside the state of California.

oak street beach

AVP Gold Series is certainly an event that brings a California and/or Hawaii vibe to it too. (You’ll cherish these memories come February) This weekend’s competition will be indeed be a star studded affair too. This weekend’s tournament will feature former Olympians April Ross, Phil Dalhausser, Sarah Pavan and Sean Rosenthal, as well as AVP legends Alix Klineman and Taylor Crabb.

Don’t forget Chase Budinger, the AVP star who played in the NBA four seven seasons with four different teams; finishing runner-up in the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend Slam Dunk contest.

Budinger played in the NBA from 2009 – 2017 as a small forward for the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns. In 2017, Budinger retired from basketball to focus on playing professional beach volleyball and made his debut on the AVP tour with Sean Rosenthal in 2018.

And remember, entrance is free!

2018 AVP Chicago
Manhattan Beach Pier
Credit: Robert Beck

Yes, no ticket costs; absolutely free!

What: AVP Gold Series // Championships in Chicago; Pro Beach Volleyball U.S.A. Tour – seventh stop of eight stop tour, top men and women  

Dates: Friday, Aug. 30 – Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019; 

Times: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sun.) 

Location: Oak Street Beach Chicago 

What: Free family-friendly three-day festival style beach volleyball competition featuring food, drink, music, exciting matches and activities. General admission including Stadium Court seats are FREE and VIP options are available on avp.com

april ross

How is that possible? The Championships Festival Village; where numerous companies give away free samples and raise brand awareness. It’s a chance to sample all the health foods and drinks and that they serve in your gym’s cafe, but you may have had second thoughts about trying out.

It’s all part of the weekend’s beachcomber motif; set against the postcard views/tourism bureau poster that is the Gold Coast skyline at Oak Street beach.

AVP Gold Series is also a great opportunity to see one of the best at their craft in April Ross.

With 35 AVP titles, she is  women’s beach volleyball what the New York Yankees are to baseball, the L.A. Lakers are to basketball or Real Madrid is to soccer. 

The Costa Mesa, CA native and USC grad also won a bronze medal in Rio 2016 (with Kerri Walsh-Jennings) and took the silver (with Jen Kessy) in London 2012. She also teamed with Kessy to claim the 2009 Beach Volleyball World Championship.

In 2018, Klineman and Ross teamed up to become four-time AVP Champions on the Pro Tour. Together they won the 2018 Women’s Team of the Year award and Klineman won the 2018 AVP Best Blocker and AVP Most Improved Player.

Klineman and Ross are collectively known as “The A-Team.” In recent FIVB standings, they are currently ranked as the No. 1 women’s team worldwide.

The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) is the world’s premier beach volleyball organization. It was founded in 1983 and it is headquartered in southern California.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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