When the NCAA held its inaugural women’s beach volleyball championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama, recently, it didn’t just mark a victory for USC; it was a big win for the sport.
Beach volleyball, one of the NCAA’s Emerging Sports for Women, has exploded in popularity. Not only were the matches incredibly well attended, but there was enough interest to encourage Turner Sports and the NCAA to craft a multi-year agreement to televise the event, starting with the inaugural year.
The sport is continuing to grow not just at the college level (as of last year, Divisions II and III also voted to add it to their varsity lists) but at the junior levels.
And sports facility contractors can count on reaping the benefits. After all, the success of this championship – and the adoption of the sport at DII and III levels – plus the summer Olympics (where beach volleyball gets heavy coverage) is sure to spur interest in programs – and as a result, in having courts constructed.
NCAA’s site includes information on the layout and construction of beach volleyball facilities (found here). Another document, this from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, includes FAQs about courts, including approximate costs and amount of land needed.
If there was ever a time for contractors to get in on the ground sand floor, and to start marketing to colleges, schools and municipalities, it’s now. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)’s research, participation in volleyball among the 6-17 year-old female demographic increased by 64% between 2007 and 2013 to 356,000. USA Volleyball also saw a 450% increase in participation in their female U12-U18 programming.
While the city of Gulf Shores will also host the 2017 NCAA beach volleyball championship, count on other cities to make their moves toward hosting future events, and to want to attract events like the AVP Tour, which can draw big crowds. And as such, there will most likely be an uptick in interest in installing courts. It’s a great time to get in on that.