As a successful student-athlete, high level digital, media, sports and nutrition brand and business developer / executive, AVL‘s first Commissioner, Dave Behar is widely known as a game changer in Media, Team and Action Sports – a bold, innovative leader with a vision for transformative change — from activation, expansion and “realvitalization” of what’s considered to be a “fragmented” professional sport across America. Commissioner Behar’s leadership for positive change, athlete and “customer conversion driven” revenue growth in a variety of top line brands and Sports Properties has been the hallmark of his career and foundation why companies apply resources and money to initiatives led.
What do you have your ion?
While incubating and establishing the American Volleyball League™, the property is designed to fit with ION Sports Network’s already powerful production capability and reach across an evolving 25,000+ digital channels with millions of existing viewers hungry for compelling competition and story telling. Needless to say, the rest of the media world is ionvited.
His many ION achievements include the largest and still scaling channel footprint in Internet history – and establishing the ease of content distribution for marketers and content creators across the spectrum of digital channels and multiple devices – coupled with deep hyper-targeted and hyper-local shows and video sharing – across The Network of Champions™.
Leader of the PAC – Expansion + Innovation at the PAC-10
Behar was a key architect of what became PAC-10 Network and PAC-10 Properties evolving into what is now the PAC-12 Network, Enterprises and a eventually a new Commissioner, and addition of University of Colorado and University of Utah.
With the support of the PAC-10 University Presidents and Chancellors and Athletic Directors, Behar orchestrated a rebranding of the Conference, emphasizing the Conference of Champions® and its unmistakable West Coast footprint and style. Behar also created and led the conference through its first Brand Licensing Program – with not only creating dozens of licensing agreements, for the logo he designed, but a major adoption by all the member institutions of the “flexible” new PAC-10 mark on fields and arenas.
During his tenure and hands-on leadership, the PAC-10 Licensing and Corporate Partner Development became the hallmark for Collegiate Conferences for others to model after, with increased Media and Championship rights values among its television partners – directly collaborating with and benefitting each member institution, while taking the Conference of Champions® through its first re-branding in 30 years, with unanimous support, establishing the brand licensing program with member institutions in bookstores and retailers across America.
Behar initiated the Conference’s new media positioning via a groundbreaking Apple eWorld deal and other technology licenses, establishing ever-evolving digital and mobile platforms for PAC-10 content – while helping the Conference in its Fox Sports / Liberty Media joint venture.
NCAA Division I Conferences Big West and West Coast Conferences – also benefitted by Behar’s innovative branding, business development modeling, merchandising and licensing, Championship and early Conference Properties development.
The Beach Volleyball Summit™ – The Peak of the Sport.
Commissioner Behar, in key, on-going discussions with NCAA College Beach Volleyball Coaches, Community College and High School Beach Coaches as well as University Presidents and Chancellors is on the leading edge of the development of careers in Beach Volleyball.
As Founder of the Beach Volleyball Summit™ held each year in Manhattan Beach CA, Behar leads the session discussion and progression from youth, high school, Club to the realism of the intercollegiate athletics avenue to AVL with the innovative League and other industry leaders shaping new jobs on and off the court.
Under Behar’s inaugural leadership, ION™, the AVL and the Digster™ Brand created a Middle and High School Beach Volleyball Initiative: a collective effort between the League and member schools to reduce costs in developing high school beach volleyball programs nationwide vs. the often higher cost for parents associated with Club Beach and Indoor – and advocating play in as many sports as possible while in school – as long as one of those sports is the lifetime, lifestyle sport of beach volleyball. Access to or funding of quality beach volleyball courts is at the center of this initiative.
Examples of Behar’s volleyball court funding include South Mission Beach in San Diego, with college buddy and fellow SDSU Aztec Bruk Vandeweghe and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton. More recently, Behar’s contribution is the courts at Inner Cabrillo Beach, along the LA Waterfront, on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula.
All the while, the athletic excellence that has defined the professional sport and its Legends for over a century has only increased during Behar’s involvement. In establishing the original Legends of Pro Beach Volleyball™ tournament with Broadcaster, Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer Chris Marlowe as a standalone tournament in 1989 – and now a featured AVL event, the AVL footprint will also include the sports first ever AVL All-Star Game – and perhaps a glimpse into the professional athletes representing the United States and other countries in the 2020 Tokyo, 2024 Paris and 2028 Olympic Games.
Proven Leadership in Media + Technology
Among other Fortune 500 brands, Behar helped lead the business development of Hotmail – a leader in web-based email – later acquired by Microsoft (MSFT) in one of the largest Silicon Valley acquisitions at the time – leading to other start-up and exited digital ventures.
Volleyball Business Pioneer
During his early days in beach volleyball, Behar’s wildly successful and innovative I DIG Sportswear and Volleyball Product brand sold in all 50 states at all the top tier Department and Specialty Stores, and Big Box retailers, distributed in dozens of foreign countries, prior to being acquired. While annually sponsoring hundreds of independent tournaments, multiple champion athletes, including the Sato Family, Randy Stoklos, Troy Tanner, Bruk Vandeweghe, Jackie Silva, Linda Chisholm, Karolyn Kirby and other top earners – while helping dramatically grow the sport’s participation, Behar was influential in developing the first Pro Beach Volleyball Tour in Australia, while engaging Nescafe Ice Café as the Title sponsor.
Behar was also the architect of the famous, first ever I DIG Six Man Beach Volleyball World Championship event featuring the largest-ever purse for six man volleyball that attracted the top 10 players in the sport at the time and thousands of fans Insane Diego.
The I DIG Brand was one of the founding partners of the Bud Light Four Man Tour, featuring one of the first teams and the official ball – an early inspiration behind what is now the American Volleyball League™.
As a competitive volleyball player, which he was not necessarily known for, his highest finish was third in the Manhattan Six Man – playing backrow for Wilt Chamberlain on a Gary Sato led team and a stellar fifth with Legend Bob “Vogie” Voglesang at Estero Beach – using his nectar setting and powerful jump serve.
Behar has often earned recognition for his visionary and highly effective “new school meets old school” business development leadership and strategies.
Behar serves on several boards inside and outside of sports, including the founding Board of the Student Entrepreneur Academy (SEA), while keynoting, moderating and speaking in revitalizing towns, non-profits and on high school and college campuses – spreading the “realvitalization” message of economic, brand and business development in communities throughout America.
He has enjoyed supporting and positively influencing his daughter Samantha and son Benjamin in their youth / high school sports and student leadership activities.