What To Expect From The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals Coming To Fort Lauderdale Beach
When six days of high-stakes international beach volleyball hit Fort Lauderdale Beach at the end of the month, 30,000 people are expected to turnout for the party-like atmosphere surrounding the free, open-to-the-public event.
Ten men's and women's teams have made it to the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals taking place at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park from Sept. 29 to Oct. 4. All of the athletes are considered Olympic contenders for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
Four U.S. teams have qualified for the tournament: the women's pairs of April Ross/Lauren Fendrick and Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day and the men's pairs of Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, who is a Fort Lauderdale native.
They're all competing to win a $100,000 prize, the highest paycheck in beach volleyball ever.
Crowds can look forward to music, food, drinks, dancing and an interactive vendor village experience. Spectators can also expect to spot celebrities and star athletes not competing in the games.
As the Federation of International Volleyball World Tour makes its final stop in the Sunshine State, organizers are promising a beach volleyball experience that the U.S. has not seen before.
“Fort Lauderdale is the epicentre of beach volleyball in the United States," said Hannes Jagerhofer, CEO of Swatch Beach Majors. "Having such esteemed partners along with the great city of Fort Lauderdale as host city for the first-ever Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals is the best possible scenario for a new era in beach volleyball history.”
This may be the FIVB World Tour Finals' first time in the city, but Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, hopes it won't be the last.
"We are discussing the return of FIVB and hope to entice them to come back soon—and often," she said.
And that's not only because the economic impact of this year's event is expected be about $6 million.
"The biggest impact will be on our reputation as an amazing championship destination," she said.
The fact that the final matches will be nationally televised are sure to help. More than 10 hours of beach volleyball will be aired live on Universal Sports network beginning Friday, Oct. 2, with the final men’s and women’s matches also broadcast live across the country on NBC at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4.
Construction of the stadium at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is currently underway, and the 4,000-person Center Court will offer free seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is also free on the Side Court, where guests will have the chance to get close to the athletes.
Friday through Sunday, premium courtside seating will be available for guests who purchase a VIP package. Tickets include a unique atmosphere featuring catering with unlimited food and beverages, a canopied stand to help guests beat the heat, and parking directly in front of the venue.
The top-notch experience doesn't come cheap, however. Daily tickets start at $779 per person plus tax, or $2,190 for the Golden VIP package that spans the whole weekend.
The full events schedule, from pool play to the gold medal matches, can be found online here.
If you're not already excited, we hope this trailer gets you hyped:
Photo and video courtesy Swatch Major Series