COSTA MESA, Calif. (June 2, 2014) – The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) and smart USA announced today that the professional beach volleyball tour and the innovative car company have reached a multi-faceted sponsorship agreement for the AVP Tour’s 2014 season.


Under the agreement, smart will be designated as the Official Automotive Partner of the AVP for all seven of its tournaments this season, and smart will receive title sponsorship of two of the AVP’s marquee Southern California events. The “smart AVP Manhattan Beach Open” will be played August 14-17, and the “smart AVP Championships at Huntington Beach” will be played September 18-21.


The deal includes sponsor options to extend for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Last season, smart sponsored the season-ending “smart AVP Championships at Huntington Beach.”


“smart USA is excited to extend its commitment with the AVP for the 2014 season,” said Stephanie Zimmer, Manager of Brand Experience Marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. “For many years, smart has supported beach volleyball around the world, and we’re thrilled to help the sport thrive right here in the U.S.”


Added AVP Managing Partner Donald Sun: “We couldn’t be happier to announce our season-long partnership with smart. The AVP is an emerging brand that seeks to connect with a young, affluent and aspirational lifestyle, and smart is a perfect fit in reaching that same demographic. We’re truly appreciative of the support that smart has offered as we continue to expand our professional domestic beach volleyball tour, and we’re looking forward to growing with them in the years to come.”


As part of the deal, smart will receive signage on the stadium court and throughout the tournament footprint at all 2014 AVP tournaments, as well as TV advertising on the AVP’s CBS Sports Network broadcasts and website and social media integration.


Fans attending the smart AVP Southern California tournaments this season will get to explore and enjoy smart vehicles within the context of the world-class beach party environment. During matches on stadium court, smart vehicles will be used as player boxes, the home base of teams during competition – where players rest during timeouts and between matches. During the four-day tournaments, AVP fans will be able to enjoy smart-themed activations throughout the tournament grounds including interactive elements, promotional giveaways and custom display vehicles.

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About the AVP

Established in 1983, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) produces, markets and distributes volleyball events worldwide, including the popular AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. While promoting family-oriented events and supporting a healthy lifestyle, the AVP is best known for its world-class athletes, who have won numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the Olympic games. The AVP headquarters are in Costa Mesa, Calif.


The AVP exemplifies a young, affluent and aspirational lifestyle, featuring up-and-coming players as well as iconic athletes like three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, 2012 Olympic silver medalists April Ross and Jen Kessy, Olympic gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers and two-time Olympians Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb. The tour also features many up-and-coming stars who are helping build the future of the sport, such as Casey Patterson, Theo Brunner, Summer Ross, Emily Day and 2013 AVP rookies of the year Tri Bourne and Lane Carico.


In 2014, the AVP’s schedule will include seven tournaments, in different regions of the U.S. from Florida to Southern California. In its third year under the guidance of AVP Managing Partner Donald Sun, who purchased the tour in 2012, the AVP has expanded its property to include tour stops this season in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Milwaukee; Salt Lake City; Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Cincinnati; Atlantic City, N.J.; and Huntington Beach, Calif.


About smart

smart, a part of the Mercedes-Benz USA portfolio, has its U.S. headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey. The smart model-line consists of five fortwo models: the pure coupe, passion coupe, passion cabriolet and all electric drive versions of the coupe and cabriolet. All smart models sold in the U.S. are covered by a four-year, 50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty.


Classified as ultra-low emissions vehicles by the State of California Air Resources Board, smart models are just under nine feet long, 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Despite their microcar exterior dimensions, smart vehicles are surprisingly roomy inside and have a full array of technological and safety features including the patented tridion safety cell which is designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision. All smart vehicles, designed to be 85% recyclable and over 95% reclaimable, are produced in the environmentally oriented “smartville” factory in Hambach, France. Additional information on smart can be found at www.smartusa.com.


Media contacts:

Greg Ball                                                       Crystal Fukumoto                                     Julie Levinthal

BZA Public Relations                                 BZA Public Relations                                 smart USA

gregb@bzapr.com                                   crystalf@bzapr.com                                julie.levinthal@mbusa.com

760-271-9183 cell                                     310-709-8690 cell                                     201-573-4367


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