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Emily Day, left, and Betsi Flint, center, celebrate their point during AVP Tournament championship match at Hermosa Beach on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach will lose its AVP Tour event after it was announced last week that a three-part AVP Champions Cup series will take place in Long Beach beginning July 18.

AVP owner/CEO Donald Sun said the new series will allow it to keep its footprint small during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“With the restrictions and regulations in place, we were forced to suspend all fan-attended events and re-focus on creating the best possible scenario to bring fans the sport they love so much and provide a meaningful way for our athletes to compete,” said Sun in a statement. “I am extremely proud of my team and our partners for getting creative and finding a solution to ensure we don’t miss a year of beach volleyball.” 

The AVP Champions Cup series will take place July 18-19, July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2 in Long Beach. The series will air on Amazon Prime Video and NBC on select days.

AVP spokesperson Megan Hanson said Long Beach was chosen because of its safety and logistics. The Long Beach space allows them to manage the health and safety of the athletes, staff and production crew, she said.

“We wanted to keep it in Southern California so that athletes wouldn't have to be flying or really doing a lot of traveling,” Hanson said. “They can come in, they can compete and play and then be able to go home and continue to stay healthy and practice all the social distancing requirements needed.”

The Manhattan Beach Open, which has been nicknamed the “granddaddy” of beach volleyball tournaments, has been a staple in Manhattan Beach since 1960 when it started as an amateur event.

Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery said the city is disappointed that the AVP decided to “pass” on the Manhattan Beach Open this year.

“We are looking forward to the AVP hosting the Manhattan Beach Open next year,” Montgomery said.

Hermosa Beach Mayor Mary Campbell said in an email that she appreciated the AVP and other large events taking precautions in protecting the public during the COVID-19 pandemic by rescheduling without spectators.

“We know some fans will be disappointed they won’t be able to watch AVP in person. But they can watch the tournament on TV,” Campbell said.

Hermosa Beach’s Emily Day, who has victories in the Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach opens, said her regular partner, Betsi Flint is injured, so her new partner will be Lauren Fendrick for the AVP Champions Cup series.

Day said she has been champing at the bit to compete like many other athletes.

“The AVP has found a way to create a tournament or something very close to a tournament for us to play in which is awesome,” Day said.

Day said she and her partner have worked hard during the pandemic to stay in shape.

“It’s nice to know that it’s going to pay off this year, that we’ll be able to compete and provide some entertainment for people,” Day said.

But when the beach was shut down and the volleyball nets were taken down, that provided a challenge, not being able to condition and train on the sand.

“Once they opened the beach back up, we were able to start doing sand workouts,” Day said. “Now we've been practicing for the past week or so, just getting back our touch of volleyball and being ready and conditioned to play in July.”

According to the AVP, there will be an eight-team main draw with a 12-team qualification cap. There will be a $200,000 purse for the women’s and men’s events and a $100,000 bonus pool based on the top average team finish of each of the three cups.

Amazon Prime Video begins live coverage on July 18 and will stream matches throughout the series, according to the AVP. NBC will air a men’s match, possibly a quarterfinal, on July 18, from 2 to 3 p.m., and the women’s final on July 19, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.. NBCSN will air one finals match in the second and third weekends, which will also be simulcast on Amazon Prime Video.

For more information, visit avp.com.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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