Beach volleyball featuring Internet streams and fantasy leagues

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Beach volleyball fans who can’t make it out to the Crocs Tour Riverside Open this weekend can watch it streamed on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals’ website starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Jason Hodell, the head of the professional beach volleyball tour after Leonard Armato recently stepped down, says 6,000 people already signed up.

That project is one of two initiatives that Hodell is trying to spearhead as the 2009 season gets underway. The AVP also recently created its own fantasy league, which Hodell says already has 500 players. Hodell hopes the fantasy league will create more familiarity with the field, especially since two-time Olympic gold medalists Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh are indefinitely sidelined for the 2009 season.

‘Our volleyball base know most of the top players, not just Misty and Kerri,’ Hodell said. ‘I don’t think there’s too much learning that has to go on with the middle of the pack. But there are players trying to break through, and there’s a lot of discovery that can take place.’

-- Mark Medina