Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN.
The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics.
Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings says the event is a game-changer that beach volleyball has never had.
Beach volleyball has struggled to translate its popularity at the Olympics into a full-time audience.
ESPN thinks it can change that.
Burke Magnus, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and scheduling, says beach volleyball was attractive to the network because it appeals to both men and women, is popular domestically and globally and still has room for growth.
Jimmy Golen has covered beach volleyball for The Associated Press since 2008. Follow him on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen.
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