In Gulf Shores: Utilizing Natural Resources for Athletic Events | Sports Destination Management

In Gulf Shores: Utilizing Natural Resources for Athletic Events

Jun 13, 2016

The inaugural NCAA National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship took place in Gulf Shores May 6-8, 2016. And the newest NCAA championship made a lasting impact in Alabama’s beach destination as 5,915 fans attended the 2016 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship over three days with millions of others tuning in live on national television. As sports tourism continues to grow around the country, the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission strives to build new business, even if that translates into building the venue itself.

When the NCAA conducted its site visit in Gulf Shores, the commission and city officials cast a vision of what the site would become since it would need to be constructed from the sand up.

“Our organization and the city of Gulf Shores contracted The Hangout to build a championship site from scratch on a natural sports venue – Alabama’s beaches,” said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for the Sports Commission. “We had to let the beauty of our destination and past efforts with the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships speak for themselves. We are humbled and excited to walk alongside the NCAA to help grow this sport and showcase our destination to volleyball teams and fans around the country.”

The inaugural championship was well-received by the NCAA as it looks forward to improving next year and beyond.  

“We are very pleased and excited about the success of the inaugural NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship in Gulf Shores," said Kristin Fasbender, associate director of championships and alliance for the NCAA. "The experience for our student-athletes and fans was outstanding! The partnership that the NCAA has created with the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, UAB, The Hangout and the city of Gulf Shores made this event shine. We are already looking forward to next year and continuing to build off of this year’s event.” 

Georgia State University Coach Beth Van Fleet praised the NCAA for producing a high caliber first-year championship event.

“The NCAA has done an amazing job putting this together," she said. "I haven’t seen anything better than this except the Olympics. It is so professional and well put together.”

The 2017 championship will take place May 5-7 on the Gulf Shores Public Beach. 

Visit for beach volleyball details. For information on upcoming athletic events along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit, or call 1-800-745-SAND.

About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission is a partnership between Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT), the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In 2007, this commission became a department within GSOBT. In this role, the commission - along with assistance from both cities – works to bring quality sporting events to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. To learn more about a whole different state of play, please visit

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