In the first glimpse behind the curtain at how p1440 tournament qualification will work, VolleyMob talked to co-founder Casey Jennings and Operations Logistics coordinator Fernando Sabla about points, a partnership with the California Beach Volleyball Association and more.
P1440 announced last week that the event series is teaming up with the CBVA in a partnership which will allow players to accumulate points in open division events, which will translate into p1440 points toward qualifiers and main draw entry.
The first collaborative points event is set for May 26-27 at the CBVA Women’s and Men’s Open Division event on Hermosa Beach Pier. In fact, p1440 is doubling the points value for the Hermosa Beach event.
In addition to the revelation of how CBVA points will translate into p1440 points, Sabla also revealed how the overall p1440 points system will aggregate international FIVB and other results.
Jennings and Sabla explained the collaboration’s origin as well as the other behind the scenes p1440 details in our conversation following the announcement.
Casey, you came up through the CVBA ranks. How important is it for p1440 to join forces with them and help grow the game?
Jennings: It is so important for us to lock in with them just because I know from personal experience that you can go through the developmental program and make it into the pro system. When I moved out to California, you could have started in double A and moved your way up into triple A events, but I was older and had just finished playing in college, so when I started playing CVBA, I jumped into the triple As and started doing well there. There would even be qualifiers going on for events and I would play in the CVBA, because I could win that, win some money and get my feet with competition and get more games. It is crucial in the development.
In speaking about p1440’s tie-in with the CVBA, you have referred to it as a feeder system for the pro league and p1440. Can you share more about that?
Jennings: You get points through the CVBA events and have it as a feeder system into the qualifiers, so that when you get into the qualifiers, you are not necessarily the last seed. You can work your way up. It is almost like a tour of its own and you work your way up into the qualifiers. You get your points up and maybe you become the fifth seed instead of the 20 seed or maybe you are the one seed. The matches are going to be easier for you to get into the main draw because of your seed and the hard work you have done up to that point.
Then, when you get to the main draw, you are now ready to compete. You have some points to get in and may not have to play the No. 1 seed in the tournament right out of the gate. It is very helpful and it speeds the process up so that you can get to where you can be the best in the world.
Do you think that this set up with the CVBA will give more athletes a chance to compete in p1440 events because they will have a way to qualify a little quicker?
Jennings: Hopefully it will incentivize them to come to train a little harder and come to California and compete in the CVBA, the largest grass roots entity across the United States. We hope to merge into other regions so people don’t have to travel as far, or come to California every time to get qualification points. Eventually we want to go East from here so there are other regions opened up for athletes to be able to accumulate points in 2019 and down the road.
We want to go all the way to New York and south to Florida, Texas and South Carolina, who knows. There are thousands of volleyball players across the United States and we want to develop players in every state and globally, so that they have a chance to become a professional beach volleyball player and make a living.
This is our first year coming out, so there are a lot of things we are trying to develop. We are trying to make it fair for everyone so it makes sense for everyone. We want to give people an opportunity to get involved with the sport at the highest level. We also want to get them involved with the health and wellness aspect of what we are doing in life and what athletes do to stay in shape in and out of season and the wide range of things involved with our events.
Sabla: I think in the short term our objective is to reach out to the cities and then partner with different associations where we are going to stop. We would like to eventually do an event in Florida or in Chicago and different parts of the country, and we want to offer the players in those cities a chance not to have to come to California to get points. Definitely, short term, we are looking at the markets our events are going to be in and making it fair for everyone across the board.
What has the response been from the CVBA with the Hermosa Beach Open coming up this weekend?
Sabla: They are pretty excited. I think we are all excited. Hopefully the points will drive people to the event. There is pretty good prize money. It is our first event (with them), so we don’t know what to expect. It is a great opportunity to be able to launch our p1440 points. That is exciting.
Anything else you want to share about the partnership with the CVBA?
Sabla: To clarify, p1440 points that the CVBA players will be able to aggregate go down to ninth place and they will also receive participation points. We want to include everybody. Sometimes the 13th place team at an open event doesn’t get very many points, and they still won’t, but they will still aggregate points into our event. Everybody is welcome.
We are pretty excited to launch it and I think it is going to offer a lot of opportunities for those up and coming teams to get their feet wet and have an opportunity to play in our qualifiers, to qualify and a chance to play against the best teams in the world.
Finally, talk about the p1440 points system as a whole. How does that tie in with CVBA points and even internationally with the FIVB points, etc?
Sabla: If you take first in an open CVBA sanctioned event, that is the equivalent to the 17th place points at a p1440 event. That is huge for a CVBA player to be able to win a CVBA event and aggregate those kinds of points, especially the Hermosa Beach Open, where we are going to offer double points.
The winner of that tournament gets 13th place points, which is a great start for these guys. We want to be able to integrate those young athletes into what we are doing and have them experience the top players in the world and what it feels like to compete against those guys.
As far as our points system, we wanted to be inclusive to all athletes. Obviously we didn’t want to shock the international players and create some super complicated system they wouldn’t understand. It is as easy as using their prize money to give points based on what they have made at four of their last six tournaments and be able to seed them in that way.
We won’t use their FIVB points, we will just use their prize money. The money that has been made on the international tour, for every $100 they get five points with p1440.