Southern Cal Prevails Again at Gulf Shores Public Beach
Southern California added another title to its NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship dynasty as the Trojans defeated UCLA, 3-2 earlier this month at Gulf Shores Public Beach. USC has claimed five of the seven titles since the NCAA sanctioned the sport and held its national championship in Gulf Shores. UCLA prevailed in 2018 and 2019. This year’s tourney drew 11,772 paying customers, topping the 2022 total of 10,151. The last year of record was 2019 with 9,488 people buying tickets. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of COVID and in 2021 the tournament was played but without any spectators, again because of COVID. “There were 2,000 room nights specifically generated by that specific event,” said Gulf Shores Recreation Director Grant Brown. “The athletes, ESPN crew that’s in town, the NCAA championship committee as well as NCAA staff that was here. That equates to $1.5 million of economic impact.” The championship will be back in Gulf Shores next May before moving to Huntington Beach in California for two years. Gulf Shores is already preparing to offer the NCAA a package that will keep the tourney in Gulf Shores for an extended period beginning in 2027. “Our goal is to be able to get them to come back and hopefully have their permanent home here in Gulf Shores,” Brown said.