FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour visits USA for FIVB Cincinnati Open

The double-gender FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Cincinnati Open, organised in collaboration with the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), also organisers of the United States' premier beach volleyball tour, will be the first of two World Tour events in the United States in 2016. The tournament will take place from May 17 to 21 and be the 15th men's and 15th women's FIVB World Tour event held in the country and the first event in Cincinnati.

In all, 11 cities in the United States have hosted an FIVB event: Atlanta, Carson, California, Chicago, Clearwater, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Hermosa Beach, California, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and St. Petersburg, Florida. The first event in the United States was held in Miami, Florida in 1994. In 1997, the Tennis Centre stadium at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) hosted the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Other US events have included Atlanta hosting the 1996 Olympics and, more recently, Fort Lauderdale, Florida hosting the inaugural Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in 2015. The other scheduled stop in the United States in 2016 will be the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Long Beach Grand Slam in Southern California from August 23 to 28.

The 2015/2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar began with three Open events at the end of 2015. The remainder of the 2015/2016 calendar will include 11 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Open events, five FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam events along with three Swatch FIVB Major Series events, and the second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. Another highlight of the calendar will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil from August 5 to 21.

Through the 2015 events (three last year), the United States have hosted a total of 28 FIVB World Tour events (14 men, 14 women) with Brazil tied with USA in the men’s medal count and Brazil leading the women’s total. In the men’s totals after 14 events, Brazil and USA lead with 14 each. Argentina, Norway, Spain and Switzerland have two each and with one men’s medal each in the United States are Canada, Italy, Netherlands and Poland.

After 14 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in the United States through 2015, Brazil leads the medal parade with 21 total medals followed by USA with 14, Australia and Germany with three each and with one women’s medal in the United States is the Slovak Republic.

Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County, Ohio, USA. It is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 65th-largest city in the United States. It had a population of 296,945 at the last census. The population of the metropolitan area is over 2.3 million – the 28th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and the largest centred in Ohio. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north side of the confluence of the Licking River with the Ohio River. The Ohio River forms the border between the states of Ohio and Kentucky.

Cincinnati is home to two major professional sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is one of the 50 largest in the United States. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as the "Paris of America", due mainly to such ambitious architectural projects as the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel and Shillito Department Store.

The event continues the Road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The 2016 FIVB World Ranking system will again include FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam and Open events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. While the FIVB World Championships had 48 teams, all other tournaments have 32 teams and begin with a qualification tournament in each gender to determine the final eight teams in the main draw fields.

Country quota playoffs are also held, as needed, to determine the final teams for qualification tournaments.

The 2014-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup is back again this year as it completes its portion of the qualification process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.