Volleyball’s On Tap Out West

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Californians love their beach volleyball and Fox Sports Net West is taking a lead role in coverage of the sand sport this season.

The regional sports service next weekend is scheduled to serve up the second of seven live tournament finals when the Association of Volleyball Professionals circuit swings into Tempe, Ariz.

As part of a two-hour telecast on April 25, FSN West will air the men’s championship live beginning at 4 p.m., and then follow up with taped coverage of the women’s finals recorded earlier that day.

“This makes better use of the window. With each telecast, Fox Sports West will start with the live match, rather than have the down time between the finals,” FSN vice president of acquisitions Marc Fein explained.

FSN West will also showcase five other tourneys — a pair each in May and June, and one in July — in this fashion.

Other FSN regional affiliates can also pick up the tournaments in this capacity, as schedules and interest warrant, according to Fein. Chris Marlowe and beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith call the game action on FSN’s telecasts.

Moreover, FSN regionals will have the province to carry tournaments covered by NBC on a delayed basis. Last year, NBC and Fox took investment stakes in the AVP.

“Starting from April 17 through almost every weekend into November, unless NBC is going live, there will be AVP action available to the regionals,” Fein explained.

The Los Angeles-based FSN West and FSN West 2 are also stepping up to the net with regular airings of Dig, a magazine-style show that appeared on the regionals a few times last year. Dig, hosted by FSN’s Mary Strong, is produced by FSN West.

The show, featuring player interviews and lifestyle segments, airs throughout the AVP season, with premiere installments set for Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on FSN West and FSN West 2, respectively.

“As the home of the most sports coverage in Southern California, we have embraced beach volleyball and increased the number of AVP events that we are covering in 2004,” said Steve Simpson, vice president/general manager of FSN and FSN 2. “With the popularity of beach volleyball in Southern California, it only makes sense that FSN and FSN 2 provide the most AVP coverage, including the return of Dig.”

As is the case with the tournaments, other FSN regionals can dig up Dig to supplement their schedules.

“We are delighted with our partnership with Fox Sports Net West and its commitment to the AVP Tour,” said AVP commissioner Leonard Armato in a prepared statement. “It is exciting that all FSN’s viewers can see our events 'live’ this season and we are thrilled about the show Dig, where FSN will take you behind the scenes and explore the lifestyle of the AVP Nissan Series.”

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