Long Beach to host three-week AVP event

Sports are coming back to Long Beach!

But it’ll be without fans.

The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) announced Wednesday that it will host a three-week event in Long Beach to replace its suspended regular season. The AVP Champions Cup Series will be played on three consecutive weekends July 18 – August 2 on sand courts in the Long Beach Sports Arena parking lot.

No fans will be allowed to attend the event. Some of the matches will be broadcast by NBC, and all of them will be streamed live on Amazon Prime.

Total prize pool is $700,000 and multiple Long Beach representatives will be competing. Taylor Crabb is one of those Long Beach State alums coming back to the LBC next month, and he’s also one of the best beach volleyball players in the world. Crabb and partner Jake Gibb ended 2019 as the top-ranked United States pair.

“We can’t wait,” Crabb said. “We’re very excited to hear the AVP is going to bring a couple events back and give us a chance to compete and at least stream it online for the fans.”

Weekends will be split into the Monster Hydro Cup (July 18-19), Wilson Cup (July 25-26), and Third Cup (Aug. 1-2).

Crabb, 28, lives in Redondo Beach with his brother Trevor, who is also an LBSU alum and AVP star. They’ve worked out together recently but have spent a long time away from the court.

“A big key will be feeling it out throughout the tournaments,” Crabb said of coming back after the long layoff. “The first couple games might be a little rusty, but I think it will come back pretty quickly for us.”

It’s not rare for Crabb to play AVP matches without a lot of fans in other countries, but he said the construction of the AVP courts will be the strangest part of playing without fans in Long Beach.

“I’m not sure if there’s going to be any bleachers, so that’s going to be pretty weird,” Crabb said. “Everyone is going to have to create their own energy and bring it themselves instead of feeding off of the fans. We’ll see what happens.”

The last professional beach volleyball event held in Long Beach was the 2017 World Series Of Beach Volleyball. The last time the AVP came to Long Beach was for the 2008 Long Beach Open.

“I’m very excited to be back in Long Beach,” Crabb said. “I give Long Beach State all the credit in the world. That university shaped me and helped me get to where I am. It’s like my second home.”

Crabb was the 2013 National Player of the Year at LBSU and plays in the alumni game every year. He said he’ll be sure to connect with coach Alan Knipe and other LBSU alums while he’s in town.

“And hopefully we’re not out of the tournament early, but if we are I’ll definitely go out to 2nd Street,” Crabb said.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.