Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach city officials say they have no plans to follow the example of another beach community that banned all advertising of alcoholic beverages on city beaches and caused the Women’s Professional Volleyball Assn. to move an event.
On March 18, the Huntington Beach City Council voted to ban all advertising of alcoholic beverages on city beaches at city-sponsored events. The ordinance will force the WPVA to move its tournament--scheduled for June 29-30--to another location because Coors Lite beer is one of the tour’s biggest sponsors.
Coors was to have displayed two 2-by-10-foot banners at the Huntington Beach event.
The WPVA will hold tournaments in Hermosa Beach on May 11-12 and in Manhattan Beach on June 22-23.
Mary Rooney, Hermosa Beach’s director of community resources, said the WPVA events have been beneficial to the city.
“We’ve had great success with the women,” she said. “It’s a smooth operation and it’s growing in popularity. There’s lots of positive benefits for the local merchants and the visibility of the city. Typically an event like that can promote, bring a lot of business into town.
“It’s really a pleasure. It’s always cooperated with city requests and people really seem to enjoy the event.”
Hermosa Beach also plays host to the men’s Assn. of Volleyball Professionals U.S. Championships on Aug. 24 and 25. Miller Lite beer is the AVP’s biggest sponsor.
Ed Montan, Manhattan Beach’s assistant director of parks and recreation, says pro volleyball sponsors are aware of laws forbidding the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the beach.
“There’s no alcohol served on the site,” said Montan, who wasn’t aware of the Huntington Beach decision. “We haven’t had a request in five years from any beer company to allow beer on site.”
Montan says beach volleyball has been an integral part of Manhattan Beach for 26 years and the city will continue to welcome pro events. The men play in Manhattan Beach on July 6 and 7.
“This is a volleyball-playing community and these events are very popular,” he said. “They provide entertainment and they help raise money for our recreation department. It’s a very positive thing.”
WPVA Executive Director Roxana Vargas says her organization avoids cities that have advertising restrictions. Huntington Beach has never been a problem in the past--the women have played there since the WPVA was formed in 1986--and while the last-minute change is inconvenient, Vargas says it is not a big deal. She said however, that the WPVA stands to lose thousands of dollars in printing and advertising costs that was spent promoting the Huntington Beach event.
“It’s not uncommon for us to change sites for various reasons,” said Vargas, who is still searching for an alternate site for the June tournament. “The big loser is the city and its residents. We’ve provided a form of entertainment. We attract 15 to 20,000 people to the beach.”
Patty Dodd, the WPVA’s fourth-ranked player, has a different opinion. She says canceling a tournament or moving its location on such short notice isn’t good for the WPVA. In addition, she likes Huntington Beach because she has won the tournament the past two years. In 1989 she did it with partner Jackie Silva and in 1990 she won with Karolyn Kirby.
“It hurts us as far as publicity goes and it hurts our credibility because people can say ‘Are you pros or what? Why the change?’ ,” said Dodd, who was unaware of the ban until told about it last week.
The former UCLA All-American thinks the Huntington Beach ordinance is uncalled for. She says in the five years she has competed on the beach, alcohol has never been a problem.
“We’ve never had any incidents with drunk people or people heckling and disrupting our game,” Dodd said. “Our crowds are usually a little bit older and we don’t have tens of thousands of people out there who are out of control.”
Pat Edson, event manager for Coors sports marketing, believes Huntington Beach officials have the wrong idea. He says no other city associated with the WPVA tour has indicated that it has plans to pass a similar ordinance.
“I don’t agree with it, but we respect local municipalities to make those decisions,” he said. “We’re not advertising for people to drink beer on the beach. We’re just supporting an event. We’re not advertising the sale of beer.”
Coors Light will sponsor five stops on this year’s WPVA tour, which begins Saturday in Austin Tex. and ends Aug. 25 with the World Championship in Las Vegas. In addition it will co-sponsor 13 WPVA events.
The Flamingo Hilton is the WPVA’s biggest sponsor. The prize money on this year’s tour is $800,000, up from $400,000 last year.
In January, the WPVA signed a two-year contract with Coors Lite beer to sponsor events.