Kiraly's U.S. Beach Series to Make Eight Stops

March 11, 2009, 7:53 p.m. (ET)

Corona Wide Open Brings Beach Volleyball Festivals to Eight U.S. Markets

Festival Atmosphere Returns Beach Volleyball Vibe Back To Its Roots

Tip Nunn
Phone: (303) 526-0994

CHICAGO, Ill. (March 11, 2009) - Corona Wide Open, a new festival and grassroots-based beach volleyball series celebrating the rich lifestyle of the beach community, will roll across the country in 2009.

Created by Corona in partnership with Elevation Group and Olympic Gold Medalist Karch Kiraly, the tour will make stops at some of the most popular and legendary American beach volleyball venues as part of an eight-city tour to qualify teams for the 2009 US Open of Beach Volleyball presented by Corona.

The eight Corona Wide Open events will highlight the beach lifestyle on which the popular sport was built. Each festival will include beach parties, special on-site events, music and more activities for fans, as well as one of the nation’s largest beach volleyball tournaments. The festivals will feature a wide range of experiential events for attendees, including personalized Graffiti T-shirts, interactive photo walls and customizable tents to allow participants to express their unique style. Participants can enter the "Oakley Serving for Diamonds" contest each day of the festival and will have a chance win a “Diamond Studded Oakley” watch valued at $5,000 as well as other Oakley products.

“Grassroots beach volleyball and the preservation of the true beach volleyball lifestyle are very important to me,” said co-founder Karch Kiraly, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and one of the greatest volleyball players ever to compete in the sport. “Corona Wide Open reminds me of beach volleyball's heyday in the '80s. I was lucky enough to play it, to live it and to see it develop into a national phenomenon. The camaraderie and the competition that brought this sport to life on the beaches of California appear to have a second coming."

The series is expected to bring together thousands of beach volleyball players, competing in a number of different divisions, all attempting to earn direct entry into the 2009 US Open of Beach Volleyball. Organizers also announced volleyball legend Brian Lewis, an eight-time winner on the AVP Tour, will be participating at each of the eight Corona Wide Open events and will engage in promotional and media activities in advance of each Corona Wide Open event.

“Corona is proud to bring this groundbreaking initiative to life and create programs and events that not only support beach volleyball, but also capture the vibe and energy that resonates in the beach lifestyle culture in markets from California to New Jersey and from Florida to Michigan,” said Timm Amundson, vice president of marketing, Corona Extra and Corona Light for Crown Imports. “There is a natural and strong connection between the Corona brand and the beach lifestyle and we look forward to providing opportunities for beach volleyball teams across the nation to play their sport at home and on the great beaches of Southern California at the US Open of Beach Volleyball.”

Corona Wide Open will get started April 25 and 26 on South Beach Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before moving to Coconut Beach in New Orleans, La. on May 16 and 17. June 13 and 14 the series stops in Virginia Beach, Va. at 30 – 35th Street Beach then moves to the beaches of Santa Cruz in northern California on June 27 and 28.

July finds Corona Wide Open in Santa Monica, Calif. on July 11 and 12, at Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven, Mich. on July 18 and 19 and at the famed North Avenue Beach in Chicago, Ill. on July 27 and 28. The series finishes up on Aug. 22 and 23 at Jenkinson’s Inlet in Point Pleasant, N.J. before heading west to the beaches of southern California and the 2009 U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, which will be played Sept. 25–27 in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

In addition to the eight Corona Wide Open events, there are 24 additional regional qualifying tournaments held between April and September that will qualify teams for at-large berths into the 2009 U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball.

Competition at the eight events will be held in up to 16 different divisions and the divisions contested at individual venues may vary from one event to another. All events will feature draws for two-person teams in men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions. Among the divisions that may be held at the eight Corona Wide Open sites are Men’s Open, AA, A, BB, B; Women’s Open, AA, A, B; Men’s and Women’s Masters (37 and over); Men’s and Women’s Masters (45 and over); and Co-ed Open, A, B.

At select sites, draws also may include four-person and/or six-person divisions as part of the overall Corona Wide Open weekend. However, winners of these divisions will not earn an automatic berth in the U.S. Open draw.

Winners in up to eight two-person divisions at each of the Corona Wide Open events will receive a prize package that includes their US Open entry fee and a stipend to cover travel and lodging expenses to Manhattan Beach for the US Open of Beach Volleyball. The specific divisions receiving the prize package will vary from market to market and details can be found at Additionally, players in the men’s and women’s Open Divisions will compete for a total prize purse of $5,000.

Entry to the Corona Wide Open is now available at Online entry is available until approximately 24 hours prior to the start of each of the eight events. On-site entries will be accepted based on available openings in a specific division.

“With the strength and reach of the Corona brand, the influence and cache of the legendary Karch Kiraly, Brian Lewis’ influence and presence in restoring the authenticity to beach volleyball and the expertise and connections of The Elevation Group, this series brings together the key elements to create a platform for the growth of beach volleyball in this country,” said Doug Beal, CEO of USA Volleyball. “We have experienced a dramatic increase in participation at the grassroots level over the last four years and we are committed to bringing the sport to an even greater number of volleyball enthusiasts all across the country. Corona Wide Open is a perfect vehicle to showcase beach volleyball in a fun, entertaining and still competitive setting.”

Corona Wide Open is produced, promoted and managed by Cleveland-based The Elevation Group. In addition to Corona Extra, other sponsors of the 2009 Corona Wide Open include Spalding and Oakley.

For more information on the 2009 Corona Wide Open please visit or call (216) 363-1675.

2009 Corona Wide Open Schedule
April 25-26: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
May 16–17: New Orleans, La.
June 13–14: Virginia Beach, Va.
June 27–28: Santa Cruz, Calif.
July 11–12: Santa Monica, Calif.
July 18–19: Grand Haven, Mich.
July 27–28: Chicago, Ill.
Aug. 22–23: Point Pleasant, N.J.
Sept. 25–27: Manhattan Beach, Calif. (U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball)

About Crown Imports, LLC -- Crown Imports LLC is a joint venture that imports, distributes and markets the Modelo portfolio and other fine beer brands across the entire U.S. The Modelo portfolio includes Corona Extra, the #1 imported beer in the U.S. and #6 beer overall, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico beer brands. Crown also imports the St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao beer brands in the U.S. For more information, visit

Crown Imports is a 50-50 joint venture between Grupo Modelo, S.A. de C.V. (MX: GMODELOC), Mexico’s leading company in the brewing, distribution and sale of beer, and Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, ASX: CBR), a leading international beverage alcohol producer, importer and marketer.

About USA Volleyball -- Founded in 1928, USA Volleyball is a Colorado incorporated non-profit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) as the National Governing Body for the sport of Volleyball in the United States. USA Volleyball is responsible for both the Olympic disciplines of indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. USA Volleyball has over 240,000 registered members, 12,000 teams and 5,000 clubs nationwide. With an annual budget in excess of $11 million dollars, USA Volleyball supports the USA men’s and women’s senior national team programs, youth and junior national teams, national championship events, coaching education and certification programs, grassroots development, and programs for the disabled and Paralympic Teams. USA Volleyball has a rich tradition of success as evidenced by winning an Olympic medal in every Olympic Games since 1984 and capturing numerous World Cup, World Championship and Continental Championship titles.

About Elevation Group of Companies -- The Elevation Group is one of the nation’s leading Sports & Music marketing and event production firms. Founded in 2002 by industry veterans and former senior executives at IMG – Denny Young and Steve Lindecke – Elevation has been named three times (2006, 2007 & 2008) one of the top event production companies in the United States by Event Marketer magazine. Elevation works alongside some of the world’s most recognizable corporate brands and personalities in the following areas: Concert & Event Production, Television & Video Production, Digital Engagement Marketing, Sponsorship Planning and Sponsorship Marketing. Elevation offices are located in Cleveland, Charlotte, Detroit and Los Angeles. For more information, log onto