Initiatives That Transform
Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball League
A small sports marketing company was preparing to launch a men’s pro beach volleyball league supported by ESPN and Anheuser-Busch, which both sought to capitalize on the emerging lifestyle sports trend. To succeed, the made-for-TV four-man team format relied on overcoming the lack of history and authenticity, qualities that the well-established AVP Tour had in spades.
To establish authenticity, the league instituted a robust game and tournament statistics framework that showcased the format's quantifiable nature, a key differentiator that enhanced broadcasts and intrigued players, fans and sponsors alike. Additional focus was placed on designing a professional, stadium-style game day where an enclosed court, between-match promotions, surround sound, and sophisticated scoreboard graphics created an electric atmosphere. Midway through the second season, ESPN ordered four hours of women’s programming. Duplicating the men’s well-designed framework and infrastructure, over $150,000 in sponsorship commitments were received in three days, a 40-player draft was held a week later, and the first tournament was staged within four weeks of ESPN’s call.
By the fifth season, the property had expanded from a seven-event men's tour to a 24-event, $3.3 million men’s and women’s league that helped launch ESPN2 and established Bud Light as a summer lifestyle sports brand.