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2015-09-03 12:45:00 CET

Fort Lauderdale is ready

First-ever Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals to take place on Fort Lauderdale Beach, with the top beach volleyball teams in the world to assemble in South Florida for their final face-off on the road to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games

Stakes are high on the Center Court. Thrilling atmosphere during the matches. Photocredit: Swatch Major SeriesStakes are high on the Center Court. Thrilling atmosphere during the matches. Photocredit: Swatch Major Series

Fort Lauderdale will serve as host city for the first-ever Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals this fall. The tournament is expected to be the most competitive in international beach volleyball this season, taking place Sept. 29 through Oct. 4, 2015 on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

The Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series, as part of the FIVB World Tour, has contributed to what has been an action-packed year for the sport ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where beach volleyball has been tipped as a showcase sport of the Games. The Swatch World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale—exclusively reserved for the top-ranked eight teams per gender, and two wildcards—will showcase the best beach volleyball teams in the world competing for a record end-of-season, first-place purse of $100,000 for both men and women. The Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series and first-ever Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale came about as part of a historic partnership agreement between the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Beach Majors Company, whose CEO, Hannes Jagerhofer, has a vision to push beach volleyball to an entirely new level and position it on the world's stage of top global sports. Plans to significantly increase the number of Major Series events are already in place as both parties have committed to long-term backing of this Olympic international sports federation.

Samoilovs & Smedins compete against Bruno Oscar Schmidt & Alison Cerutti Photocredit: Swatch Major SeriesSamoilovs & Smedins compete against Bruno Oscar Schmidt & Alison Cerutti Photocredit: Swatch Major Series

“There is no better place than Greater Fort Lauderdale to host a beach volleyball event, especially one as important as this one,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With the world watching these athletes take to the beach to compete in the lead up to the Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Greater Fort Lauderdale’s 23 miles of golden sands. This is an event that has the potential to grow year over year, with this first year bringing an estimated 30,000 attendees over the course of the six-day event, and an estimated $6 million economic impact to the area, further positioning us as a leader in the sports event industry,” Grossman added.

According to Jagerhofer—a renowned promoter who has set the benchmark for staging worldclass beach volleyball events for over 20 years, “Only with the strong support of the International Federation, which is entirely responsible for the sport’s progress, and the backing of such global iconic brands as Swatch, is it possible to realize the vision of the Major Series,” Jagerhofer said. “Fort Lauderdale is the epicentre of beach volleyball in the United States. 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.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings is also looking forward to having this high caliber event in the States. “I‘m so glad that we were able to host this tournament in the U.S.,” Walsh said. “It was such a big wish of the players to have a World Tour Final for the best teams to compete here.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross finished 4th at Gstaad Major  Photocredit: Swatch Major SeriesKerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross finished 4th at Gstaad Major Photocredit: Swatch Major Series

The teams that will assemble in Fort Lauderdale are without a doubt the most elite athletes in the game today. Each pair competing is in serious contention for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. With impressive performances during the FIVB World Tour and especially the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series stops, in Porec (Croatia), Stavanger (Norway), and Gstaad (Switzerland), the athletes are now ready for their final face-off in Fort Lauderdale. Thousands of spectators will be on hand throughout the weeklong competition for a beach volleyball experience unlike any other the sport has offered in the United States. The Fort Lauderdale crowd can look forward to a party atmosphere in and around the 4,000-person stadium, including music, food, drinks, dancing, an interactive vendor village experience, and more. Beyond the party, fans will enjoy a premier sporting experience, including slow-motion instant replays thanks to high-speed cameras on and around the Center Court. The final men’s and women’s match will also be broadcast live across the country on Oct. 4 on NBC at 2:30 p.m. EDT. More than 10 hours of live beach volleyball action will be shown on Universal Sports network  beginning Friday, Oct. 2. The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals will take place at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, located at 1100 Seabreeze Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. All matches will take place in the stadium’s Center Court and on the Side Court. The event is free and open to the public for general admission. VIP tickets are available for purchase. The stadium and vendor village will be open daily Sept. 29 through Oct. 4 with a complete schedule to be released in the coming weeks.

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