Where the Girls Are!
Lexington, Ky. (June 22, 2011) - It's late June, do you know where your daughter is? At this given time, more than 26,000 girls are competing in junior volleyball tournaments around the United States.
From June 14-July 4, over 2,600 volleyball teams, accompanied by more than 5,000 coaches and over 70,000 parents, siblings and grandparents will descend on Orlando, Fla., Atlanta, Ga. and Phoenix, Ariz. to compete in four-day to ten-day events, providing the respective economies a welcome boost.
"The female volleyball marketplace is still largely undiscovered," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "This 100,000-participant week is just a snapshot of an incredibly vibrant economy in girls' volleyball. Every business person I know who walks into a convention center filled with volleyball courts and fit young women stretching as far as the eye can see has only one word, ‘WOW!' The aggregate buying power in the building is palpable."
The 38th AAU Girls' Junior National Volleyball Championships is the granddaddy of all the tournaments. Held annually in Orlando at the at the ESPN Wide World of Sports (formally Disney's Wide World of Sports) and the Orange County Convention Center, this tournament has grown from 600 to 1,300 teams in the last two years alone. From June 14-22, over 13,000 athletes will participate in various age groups and divisions, making it the largest season-ending volleyball competition in the country.
"The girls are having a blast competing at a high level of volleyball at the AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, while finding time for fun in the sun," remarked AAU National Secretary and Volleyball National Chair Roger Goudy. "In all of my years of coming to our national championships I have never witnessed such closely contested matches in all age divisions. This is a testament to the hard work of the kids and coaches that attend our event."
The USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships, which have been on-going since the first event took place in 1980, will be played this year in Atlanta from June 25 to July 4. A total of 808 teams will descend on the Georgia World Congress Center for the 32nd annual event and will compete for 19 division championships in ages ranging from 12-to-18-and-under.
"Clearly, this is an exciting time for junior volleyball in the United States," stated USA Volleyball Senior Director Tom Pingel. "There will be more high-level volleyball being played in a concentrated time span than anywhere in the world. We are ready for another year of excellent championships for the girls in Atlanta."
Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the Volleyball Festival will also be taking place from June 23-27 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The first Volleyball Festival was held in 1984, and the event has been held ever since in a variety of locations in the West. The Volleyball Festival features girls' teams from all over the U.S., as well as from abroad, and also draws girls in the 11-to-18 age range. The event is open to all teams, both club and interscholastic, and will host over 5,000 participates this year.
"This year we are administering the 28th Annual Volleyball Festival," said Festival founder Dave Epperson. "As has been the case every year, we have accepted all-comers in our continuing effort to expand participation in girls' volleyball. Over the years our goal has been to provide all teams with 11-14 matches, allowing for every entry to have access to their age group championship. With 536 teams this year, we are adding to the 120,000 girls that the Festival has served since its inaugural event."
Participation in girls' volleyball continues to show steady growth in the United States. The AVCA reported in the fall of 2010 that volleyball continues to be a popular sport for girls in high schools, with growth led by double-digit percentage increases in numerous eastern and southern states. Per data collected by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), volleyball is the most popular team sport for girls in 22 states nationwide, more than any other team sport. As of the 2009-10 school year, 15,436 high schools sponsored girls' volleyball, and participation grew to 406,624.
"Product suppliers who are interested in fit, college-bound, achievement-oriented young women are foolish not to explore the volleyball marketplace," said DeBoer. "This demographic is a marketer's dream!"