Lawsuit Seeks Open Seats at Beach Volleyball Tournament

A grass-roots beach protection group has filed a lawsuit challenging a pro volleyball tournament organizer’s right to sell tickets to the Manhattan Beach Open instead of leaving many of the seats free to the public.

In recent years, the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals sold 25% of its tickets to the event, allowing volleyball enthusiasts to sit in the rest of the seats for free or have access to the beach.

But in March, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted to allow the volleyball association to sell all of the seats for the June 12-15 tournament and close access to the beach area where the event will be held.

The South Bay Coastal Defense Alliance filed its lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court and seeks an injunction to prevent the volleyball group from using a public beach for commercial purposes.


“The action that the Manhattan Beach City Council took was illegal,” said amateur volleyball player Donley Falkenstien, executive director of the alliance. “The beach must continue to have free access to the public.”

Manhattan Beach Mayor Joan Jones disagreed: “I don’t think there is any merit to the lawsuit.”

The city owns the tournament name but contracts with the volleyball association to organize the event and provide players. Last year, the city subsidized part of the event by supplying $40,000 in services, such as security and parking, and $10,000 in cash. By selling all the seating, the city is hoping to make money.