Pro Volleyball League Exits Bankruptcy With High Hopes
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Pro Volleyball League Exits Bankruptcy With High Hopes

October 28, 2011


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This week, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) hosted its first major tournament since resolving its debt woes by filing bankruptcy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the professional volleyball league had taken a 15-month hiatus in order to get its financial house back in order. During the break, major tournaments were postponed, and players feared that the league would eventually fold.

These fears, however, proved to be unfounded, as the AVP recently dusted off the cobwebs to host its AVP Championship in scenic Huntington Beach, California.

The league, which has defied skeptics about the financial validity of professional volleyball by hosting tournaments for 27 years, truncated its 2010 season by filing bankruptcy last October.

In bankruptcy court, as allowed by laws on bankruptcy, the AVP tried to sell itself to the highest bidder, which ended up being its majority stockholder, DFA PVA II Partners LLC.

Despite the inscrutability of the purchasing company’s name, it offered a viable path out of financial trouble for the league. As part of the purchase, the company forgave $3.8 million of the league’s debt.

In exchange, DFA received many of the rights to the league’s property. In addition, the buyer reportedly plans to make sweeping alterations to the league’s business model, and is optimistic about the league’s future because it is "the only brand in beach volleyball that matters."

Certainly, the AVP is the most successful, and most recognizable, professional volleyball circuit. The league has also provided a lucrative home for American volleyball players, including two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, who is one of the most popular female athletes in the United States.

However, despite its athletic success, the league has never been able to turn a profit, and some observers believe that the league will never be commercially viable, given the limited popularity of non-Olympic volleyball.

The potential for financial pain did not deter the league’s purchaser, which aims to improve the AVP’s finances by having tournament sites pay for the majority of the expenses, rather than the league having to foot most of the bills.

In addition, the AVP plans to add more flash to its tournaments, as it recently promised to create a “Mediterranean-style festival atmosphere with live beach-themed music all day” at its signature tournaments.

These plans already seem to be well under way. The tournament this weekend featured a VIP beer garden and a live DJ to entertain the fans.

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